If both you and your spouse are no longer there to care for your minor child or children, someone will need to be. It’s not a pleasant idea to confront, but it’s one of many realities that come with planning your legacy. Let’s take a look at what naming guardians might entail for you.
Why Name Guardians?
If you have children who are still minors, it is of the utmost importance to structure your will in a way that takes this into account. If both you and your spouse die before your minor children reach the age of majority, their new legal guardian or guardians will be named in one of two ways: either via your last will or in a court of law. Unless you name them in your will, the court will appoint guardians regardless of what your wishes may have been. This can affect the course of a child’s entire life, so it’s not a decision that should be left to any measure of chance or uncertainty. You should prioritize it as a major step in the development of your will.
Who Should You Name?
Determining who is and is not a suitable guardian is a process dictated both by personal relationships and by circumstantial factors. Whether it be your sibling, a close family friend, or your own parents, there is plenty to bear in mind. Does the prospective guardian have the ability and financial means? Keep in mind logistical concerns such as where the person resides. Will your children have to move a great distance and begin attending a new school? The importance of communication cannot be overstated. If you have someone in mind, discuss it thoroughly with them to ensure that they are up to the task and can be relied upon.
When contemplating guardianship, many people will consider their own parents. While this may be an appropriate move for some, you should first consider the age and health of your parents relative to how many years will pass before your child or children become adults. Remember that designating one guardian does not automatically name that person’s spouse as co-guardian; you must make this clear in your will if it’s your wish. In addition to this, you may want to name alternate guardians in case of the death of a primary guardian and plan for the possible divorce of a couple you’ve named as co-guardians. Preparation is everything.Ensuring that your children are cared for is one of the core aspects of managing your estate. The team at MacMillan Estate Planning will be there for you in all of your efforts, so call 1-833-266-6464 to schedule a free consultation.