A parent’s foremost concern is the well-being of their child. If you have appointed a tutor for a minor child, you should expect the tutor to have the means, willingness, and capability to care for your child. Under some circumstances, you might find it necessary to strike a prospective guardian from your estate plan or request that a relative’s designated tutor be removed from office.
Tutorship in Louisiana
Tutorship in Louisiana is essentially what other states would term “guardianship.” A tutor is someone who is legally responsible for the welfare and care of a minor child. The Bayou State allows for several different forms of tutorship.
Different Types of Tutorship
- Natural tutorship. This may take effect if the parents get divorced or a natural parent dies. If the parents divorce, any parent with custody would be considered a “natural tutor.”
- Tutorship by will. If the last surviving parent dies, a tutor may be appointed based on the instructions detailed in the parent’s will.
- Tutorship by the effect of law. If both parents pass away without a valid will, the court will appoint a tutorship in accordance with Louisiana law. Court-appointed tutors are usually blood relatives such as a grandparent.
Conditions for Removing a Tutor
When you write a will or create an estate plan, you should always discuss a prospective tutor’s ability and willingness to care for a minor child. However, individual circumstances can and often do change. If a tutor is no longer able to provide for the child’s well-being, they could be removed.
Why a Tutor Might Be Removed
- The court or another interested party believes the tutor should be disqualified
- The tutor is not a resident of Louisiana and has permanently left the state without appointing an agent to maintain communications with the court
- The tutor is no longer capable, by reason of age or other incapacity, of discharging the duties of their office
- The tutor has mismanaged the minor’s property or other assets
- The tutor has not fulfilled their legal obligations of care
- The court believes the tutor’s removal would be in the best interest of the child
Removing a Tutor in Louisiana
You might wish to remove a tutor if:
- You believe your former spouse cannot properly care for the child;
- You are related to the child and believe a will- or court-appointed tutor cannot properly care for the child; or
- You believe that the tutor is misusing their office and access to the minor child’s assets for material gain.
While you may have compelling reasons to request the removal of a tutor, you must still file a motion with the concerned court. Since this motion is subject to court oversight and approval, you might need an attorney’s assistance to successfully press your case.
Why You Might Need an Attorney’s Help
You cannot simply ask the court to remove a tutor and expect a judge to issue an order. The removal of a tutor is governed by the Louisiana Civil Code of Procedure. The tutor will only be removed if certain conditions exist.
- The court has ordered an independent motion against the tutor
- An interested party has requested an independent motion against the tutor
- The tutor cannot show cause as to why they should not be removed from their office
The court may ask you to provide evidence of the tutor’s breach of duty. Often, this evidence cannot be obtained without a thorough investigation and intimate understanding of state civil procedures.
A Louisiana estate attorney could help your family protect a minor child by constructing a compelling, evidence-based claim of the tutor’s legal inability to care for the child and protect their best interests.
Contact Us When a Child’s Well-Being Is at Stake
If you believe that a Louisiana tutor appointed by a will or the court cannot care for a child, send Scott Vicknair Law a message online, or call our Louisiana Succession Attorneys at 504-264-1057 to get started on your case.