If You Have Young Children, You Need a Will to Appoint a Guardian

Attorney Ed Littlejohn recommends naming a guardian for a young childKids grow up so fast. From the moment you bring them home from the hospital, you are trying to make the most of every moment with them. In the whirlwind of your child’s young life, it can be hard to find the time to take care of some very important legal documents. As hard as it can be to think about what would happen to your children if they lost both you and your spouse, it is important that you do so as soon as possible. Top Wintersville estate planning attorneys discuss below.

How Do You Name a Future Guardian for Your Children?

The challenging part about naming a guardian is not the legal work required to make it official. That part is easily taken care of by writing your will. When you work with a qualified estate planning attorney, they will ensure that your wishes for who should take care of your minor children are included in your estate planning documents.

The difficult part—and the reason many people avoid this important task—is choosing the person you want to name. You might have too many beloved siblings and close friends to choose from, or you may not have anyone you think you can trust. Either way, it is a tough decision. However, if you don’t make the decision when you have the chance to do so, someone else will.

What Happens When You Haven’t Named a Guardian for Your Children

If the worst happens, and you and your spouse are both killed in a car accident, for example, authorities will likely get in touch with any emergency contacts they can find initially. After that, they will determine if you have named a guardian in a will. Even if you have, your estate will have to be probated, and the judge will have to approve the named guardian, but this usually happens fairly smoothly.

If you do not have a will or your will does not name a guardian, then it will be up to the judge to appoint one. Hopefully, a family member or friend will step forward to apply for guardianship. Even so, all of the child’s next of kin will have to be notified of your death and given an opportunity to apply for guardianship. If more than one person applies for the role, it will be up to the judge to decide who gets custody of your children in a hearing. Children over the age of 13 can make a request for a specific person to be their guardian, but the judge will make a final decision.

Contact Top Wintersville Estate Planning Attorneys Today

If this blog leaves you churning through the possibilities of who could end up raising your children, and you aren’t happy with some of those options, now is the time to do something about it. When you sit down with our estate planning team, we will tell you about the documents we think you should have to protect your children in a variety of scenarios and how often we recommend updating your will. Naming a guardian in your will is the simplest and most important thing you can do. Contact our office to take care of this vital task and to find out how you can protect your children in other ways. We are offering contactless appointments and document signing from a distance.

 

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