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Louisiana tutorship law

Tutorship in Louisiana

Tutorship, also known as guardianship in other states, establishes a substitute for parental authority.  Tutorship is what you must rely on whenever parental authority is unavailable, such as after the death of parents.  Our family law attorneys can help guide you through the complexities of establishing tutorship.

Types of Tutorship

Per La. Civ. Code art. 247, there are four types of tutorship: natural, by will, legal, and dative.  

Natural tutorship occurs when one parent dies.  The surviving parent usually becomes the minor child’s tutor.  The natural tutor derives his or her right and obligation from the law without the intervention of any person.  There are some circumstances when the surviving parent can’t serve or is unwilling to serve in this way.

Tutorship by will occurs when both parents die, or the surviving parent is unable to be the child’s guardian, a tutor may be appointed according to the terms of the parent’s last will and testament. The tutor named in the will must be willing and able to serve as guardian of the child, and must be approved by a judge.

Legal tutorship occurs if both parents die and a tutor is not named in the will of the last surviving parent.  In such a case, the legal tutor is appointed by the judge according to an order of priority of right and obligation specified by law.  In most cases, the court will appoint a close relative such as a grandparent, aunt, or uncle who is willing and able to take on the legal responsibility of being a tutor.

Dative tutorship occurs when a tutor isn’t named by will, and there are no relatives who can serve as tutor for the child.  The court will name a non-relative as the child’s dative tutor.

Parties to Tutorship

The tutor is the person who replaces the parent.  The pupil is the child whose affairs are superintended.  The undertutor watches over the tutor to make sure the tutor does what he or she is supposed to.  The undertutor is responsible for recommending replacements if the tutor is forced to or chooses to step down.  A tutor has the same legal responsibilities regardless of how the tutor is appointed.  Tutors must protect the child’s health, education, and general wellbeing.  Additionally, the tutor must protect the child’s property unless the court specifically names a separate tutor for this purpose.

The family law attorneys at BowesPetkovich & Palmer, LLC are highly experienced at handling tutorship or guardianship in the New Orleans and surrounding areas.  Call us today for a free consultation.


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