Why You Should Appoint a Guardian for Your Minor Children
In the event that both you and your spouse pass away leaving minor children, it is important that you designate a legal guardian. With simple estate planning documents, you can appoint a guardian for your children in your Will. You can also designate other preferences, such as which state your children would live in and whether your children live together or separately. Additionally, through a trust, you can determine when and for what reasons your children may receive monetary distributions from your estate.
What if I don’t appoint a guardian?
If you do not appoint a guardian, court involvement would be necessary to determine who will have the legal authority to care for and make decisions for your children. Court involvement often creates unnecessary expenses due to court costs and attorney fees. Disputes may also arise among family members or friends interested in who should be appointed guardian, which can prolong the process and create additional stress for your children. Ultimately, the guardianship decision will be left in a judge’s discretion rather than your own.
How do I choose a guardian?
There are several factors to consider when choosing a guardian, such as:
- the age of your guardian;
- his or her financial situation;
- moral values; and
Although no one will be a perfect match, the guardian you choose should share similar characteristics as you. A good estate planning attorney will be able to assist you in making the best guardianship appointment for your children.
Instead of putting off estate planning until you are older, have comfort now and be assured that a plan is in place. Making a guardianship designation in your Will can give you the peace of mind that your children have been left in the care of someone you trust.