Without determining a legal guardian in your will, you are leaving this tremendously important decision up to outsiders.
When you have a minor child(ren), you’ll require a will that designates a legal guardian(s) or guardians in the unfortunate event of you and the other parent’s passing away. When you do not name a legal guardian prior to you passing away, the court will determine who is going to care for the children, with no contribution from you — and do not presume that the court is going to systematically award custody to aunts and uncles, or even grandparents of the child(ren).
Speaking legally, the living parent has the right to custody when the other parent passes away, when this is something you do not want, you need plan for this in advance as well. When creating your will, make sure that you and the other parent are in tune in regards to the legal guardian(s) so you might include the same name(s) in each of your wills to keep clear of problems that may come up later.
Whereas the choice of a child’s legal guardian is extremely personal, there are some circumstances that everyone needs think about, including:
1. How many children are there under the age of majority?
Be sure they are all cared for individually in your will—it sounds simple and straightforward but avoid naming just one child and expect the court will systematically grant custody of all the children to the same legal guardian you’ve chosen. This can be a specific concern if you have a child that has special needs.
2. Do you want all of the children to live together?
When you want all of your children to stay together, stipulate this in your will. In fact, if this detail is more vital to you than the legal guardian, say so. If for whatever reason the court does not approve your chosen guardian or the guardian you choose can’t serve but you still wish for your children to stay with each other with a different guardian as designated by the court, make this priority clear in your will.
3. Can your chosen guardian manage all of your children?
Particularly if you desire your children to stay with each other, is the guardian you chose in a position to care for all of the children, emotionally and in other ways? Do they additionally have other children? How are the families going to blend?
4. Should you think about co-guardians?
If your desire is to have your children brought up in a two-person home, make sure to name each member of the couple as co-guardians. For instance, if you want your little brother and sister-in-law to raise your children together, include each of them as co-guardians.
5. What is the age of your chosen guardian?
A lot of people instantly think of their own parents to be the guardians of their children, but think about the age and overall health of your chosen guardian and whether they will be able to handle the physical requirements of bringing up children. If your children are getting to the age of majority, this might not be as much of an issue, however, if you have minor children, it could be a very important thing to think about.
6. What is the location of your chosen guardian?
Is your chosen guardian in the same city as you? A few couple of cities over? Different state? Where are other family members and vital people in your children’s lives located? Will your children have to go through moving to a new area while dealing with the loss of their parent(s)?
7. Is your child going to have to change schools?
A lot of parents preference is that their children be allowed to stay in their own school or at least school district should anything happen to them; in any case, it’s critical for you to think about where your child would be going to school while living with their new guardian.
8. Is your chosen guardian financially up to the task?
Being a parent, you know that bringing up children is very costly, so while in a perfect world, you will have planned financially for your children in advance with an estate plan, additionally, make sure to think about the chosen guardian’s financial resources, too.
9. Does your chosen guardian agree with your personal and religious morals?
You most likely would want a guardian that agrees with your basic morals and goals as a parent so your children will be brought up likewise to the way you would have brought them up. If religious belief—or instead, not teaching religious belief—is especially important to you, you should think about this when deciding on a guardian.
Also consider whether they can deal with the responsibility of bringing up your child in addition to what kind of parent they’d be—are they caring, patient, and responsible? Are they on friendly terms with your children already?
10. Be sure you have a heartfelt conversation with your chosen guardian.
Prior to you making a decision and including a named guardian into your will, meet and talk with your selection. Primarily, you want to be sure that they’ll agree to eventually being the guardian of your child if anything happens to you, however, it’s also helpful to talk about all the factors discussed above so you know for sure the answers to the questions you have.
Part of your job being a parent, now, is to choose who you would want to raise your children in the event of you passing away Whereas it might be difficult to find an individual that meets all of the requirements, think about the considerations on this list carefully to make the best decision feasible for your children.
- Michelle Kaminsky, E. (2020, October 24). Top 10 Considerations When Naming a Guardian in Your Will. Retrieved November 05, 2020, from https://www.legalzoom.com/articles/top-10-considerations-when-naming-a-guardian-in-your-will
Arizona Family Law
Naming guardians in your will can be part of your estate plan. You may think you’re too young or don’t have enough money to justify the expense, but if you have children, you have priceless assets. There are many considerations when naming guardians for your kids. However, the process doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated.
There’s nothing better than the peace of mind you will have knowing you’ve protected your family at a time when they need it most. Let us help. Schedule a consultation or contact Ogborne Law, PLC of Arizona today.
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