It’s not easy thinking about someone else taking care of – and raising – your children. It keeps ME up at night too. But what’s the alternative? Don’t let the Probate Court judge make this decision for you and choose a relative or family friend that YOU would not want to care for your children. Only you know who would be the best person to raise your children and manage their finances until they are adults. So if you have minor children, you really need to name a guardian. Don’t let indecision or disagreement with your spouse hold you back.
Consequences of Failing to Name a Guardian Before It’s Too late
If both parents die before the child becomes an adult and no guardian is named in either parent’s Will, then the Probate Court has to make this decision. Anyone can petition the court to be considered to be your child’s guardian. Depending on your current family dynamics, family members from both sides may fight about this and this may force the court to place your child in foster care until a permanent solution is figured out.
I have discussed this topic in further detail in the following posts:
Choosing Your Child’s Guardian – Part 1 – which lists factors to consider in choosing who the guardian should be
Choosing Your Child’s Guardian – Part 2 – which addresses the situation of when both parents cannot decide on who the guardian should be or if both parents have differing selections
Let’s Continue This Conversation
While the chances of ending the guardian you appoint in your Will are slim, it’s a very important decision to make and evaluate regularly from now until your child is an adult. I will be happy to talk this through with you and legally document your wishes in your estate plan documents. Contact me with any questions.