An estate plan does more than allow you to distribute your assets -it lets you name a guardian who can take care of your minor children if you become incapacitated or die. You can name your chosen party in your will or draft a separate guardianship designation document.
Here is what you should know about guardianship:
The guardian will make decisions for your child
The party you choose, once confirmed by the court, will stand in your place as your child’s substitute parent. They will make medical, educational and other legal decisions. Therefore, you should be careful about the person you pick. You want a guardian who is willing to raise your kids, shares your values, has an existing relationship with your children and is financially stable.
You may choose an individual or a couple as a guardian, provided they have your desired qualities – but any appointment of a couple should address what will happen if that couple later breaks up.
What is a guardian of the estate?
The above-discussed party is a guardian of your children. A guardian of the estate will manage the finances of your children. Since your children are minors, they need someone to help them manage their inheritance.
What if you don’t name a guardian?
If you don’t name a legal guardian, the probate court will appoint one, but there’s no guarantee that the chosen party will be the best person to raise your kids. That’s why it’s best for parents to spell out their wishes. It’s beneficial to name an alternate guardian as well. If the primary party is unable or unwilling to accept the role, the backup guardian can assume the duties.
When you’re a parent, crafting a careful estate plan involves a lot of serious decisions. Legal guidance can make it easier.