So it is unlikely anything will happen to you (and or your spouse) but you can make sure your kids have a contingency plan my naming a guardian for your kids in a last will and testament or related legal document.
In an excellent article by Claire Zulkey, she points out the main issues and why you need to appoint a guardian for your kids JUST IN CASE.
- If you’re a parent without a will, prioritize making one now. You can’t schedule an unexpected death.
- Make an informed decision: An estate planning lawyer will raise options and issues you might not have considered.
- Ensure anyone named to care for your child in the event of your death is willing and able to take on the job.
- Amend your will if you change your mind. Doing so is not onerous or time-intensive — and if you’ve removed someone as guardian, you don’t have to inform that person.
- Review your wishes every five to 10 years; guardianship wishes may change after a major life event like a divorce
- If you have more specific wishes relating to your child’s upbringing, such as how she or he will be educated or the religion in which she or he will be raised, leave those in writing.
I keep meaning to update my will to change my children’s guardian, or the person my kids would live with if my husband and I were to die unexpectedly. When we first made the decision, we chose my cousin, who at the time had two kids of her own. Now she has four. Giving her two additional kids to look after? I can’t do that to her. But somehow actually making the call to our estate planner to start the process keeps slipping down my to-do list. When I asked some parent friends about their own estate planning, I was surprised at how many said they, too, wanted to change their original decisions. I was even more surprised at how many said they had never made a will in the first place. “Death isn’t an option for us,” one mother told me.
But bad things do happen, and though it’s impossible to prepare for many of them, making plans for your child’s care in the event of your untimely death is a concrete step you can take to help ensure his or her future well-being. I’ve spoken with four estate lawyers, a matrimonial and family lawyer, a social worker and two families who were affected when young children lost parents unexpectedly. Here’s what you need to know to make a decision that
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