I intend to update my will to change my children`s guardian, or the person my children would live with if my husband and I died unexpectedly. When we made that decision, we chose my cousin, who had two children at the time. Now she has four. Give him two more children to take care of? I can`t do that to him. But somehow, the call to our estate planner to begin the process continues to slip down my to-do list. When I asked family friends about their own estate planning, I was surprised at how many of them said they wanted to change their initial decisions too. I was even more surprised to see how many said they had never made a will. «Death is not an option for us,» one mother told me. A legal guardian is responsible for all the roles you would normally play as a parent, including: You can only appoint guardians for your stepchildren if you have parental responsibility for them. If you have not received parental responsibility, you should not include it in the «Guardians» section of your will. All the legal documents you need – customize, share, print and more The information in this section is about estate guardianships. These cases are raised by the person who wishes to be appointed guardian or by another person in the family who asks the court to appoint a guardian. If custody of the minor has been entrusted to a non-parent by the Juvenile Maintenance Court, this article does NOT apply.
Establishing guardianship in a will is one of the best things a parent can do for their child. Why is this so important? After selecting a few candidates, discuss their homework with them to see if they want to agree. You want to choose those who are not only capable, but also willing. Some parents want to keep their choice for a guardian secret in order to avoid a drama that Shane thinks is a mistake. She said she had encountered situations where someone was writing a selection without discussing it with the person, «and all of a sudden they are the guardians of a child and that`s not the right solution. They don`t have time to prepare at all, which is not fair. Once you have chosen your guardian, you should check that the person is willing to do so and that they are at least vaguely familiar with what it takes to raise your child. While you can write a will online, for plans that affect your child`s well-being, it`s best to hire an estate lawyer who can better anticipate possible complications or blind spots. Free legal services are available for those who cannot afford to hire a lawyer through local law schools, the American Bar Association, or pro bono organizations like Public Counsel. Divorce and remarriage. Taryn Zimmerman, a lawyer specializing in family and marriage, had a case involving two parents who had been divorced for several years and the father was no longer present in his child`s life. «He moved on, had two more children and sees his son very rarely,» Zimmerman said.
«He has no contact with what is happening at school,» she said, adding that the son «has special needs» that the father «is not aware of.» In the event of the mother`s death, who will take care of this child? If he goes to Dad`s house, he will practically be a stranger. If necessary, consider including a provision in your will that your child`s guardian fosters the bond between your child and your parents, as state laws vary when it comes to grandparents` rights to maintain a relationship with a child. In New Jersey, for example, where Zimmerman practices, grandparents bear the burden of proving that the visit is in the best interests of the grandchild. «If I were to marry my husband prematurely, if we divorced,» Zimmerman said, «there would be no way I would withdraw without a disposition, if he would agree to foster the bond between my children and my parents and my extended family.» Important: A guardian is only consulted if there are no surviving parents. So, if you are the child`s stepfather and the child`s biological father is still alive and continues to have legal parental responsibility, the child`s biological father would normally assume full responsibility for it. Froum said about a third of its clients end up changing their initial choice of guardian, especially those who had originally chosen the child`s grandparents. Borland assures parents that changing guardians is not a particularly expensive process, especially if you`ve already made a will with a lawyer. She said it was as simple as an email. «You don`t need court approval except to go back to your lawyer,» she said. .