For parents the gift of a child is a precious one to be cherished and protected. No parent wants to think about their own mortality, but the reality is that you never know. Every parent should plan for the unfortunate circumstance of their child suddenly being left parentless before they reach the age of 18. Do you trust your family or the state to make the right decision about who should care for your minor child?
Avoid leaving the decision of who will raise and take care of your child in the event of your early death up to chance. Estate planning includes making a decision on whom you trust enough to become the guardian of your minor children. Once you have made this decision, you will need to draft a will that lists who you have chose to be the appointed guardian and attach an addendum to your will that states specific reasons why you have chosen this person. If you have elected to choose a guardian that is not the child’s other biological parent, state with specific details why it is not in the best interest that the child be raised by the other parent. These details will help the court to find that your choice of guardian is in fact in the best interest of your child and officially appoint that person as your child’s guardian. Of course, there are more factors involved when the child has another biological parent that is still living that you should discuss with your attorney. Parents commonly choose one of the following as their child’s guardian:
- The child’s non-custodial parent
- The child’s grandparents
- An aunt of uncle of your child
- A cousin that shares a close relationship with you and your child
- A trusted friend of yours that loves your child
When you are in the decision-making process of who is an appropriate choice to be your child’s guardian, it is also a good idea to decide on an alternate as well. This way there is another person that can step up to raise your child in the event your first choice can no longer fulfill the obligation due to unforeseen circumstances. Otherwise, your child is left up to the mercy of your family making the right decision, or your child becoming a ward of your state.
The above is for general information only and is not legal advice. For your consultation, contact estate planning attorney, Michael Burnett at 678-905-4450 Ext. 3 for your consultation. www.msb-law.com/ MICHAEL S. BURNETT, LLC