You Named a Guardian for Your Children, But What if Something Happens to Them?
Ok, you named someone to be the guardian of your children if something happens to you, but What if something happens to your first choice?
No one knows what the future holds, that is why planning for it is so important. We make sure our clients plan for many different scenarios, but unfortunately, not everyone else does.
*But I Named a Guardian for My Child*
Ok–you sat down with your attorney and named a guardian, which is great, don’t get me wrong! But say you and your spouse pass away leaving your child with their grandparents. Then your parents pass away or just become unable to care for them any more, but your child is still in need of a guardian. What happens then?
To be honest, there is not always a good result in these situations. Your child could be put into the social service system until another relative is located. Even if there are multiple relatives who want to be your child’s guardian, that could lead to problems as well. There will likely be court battles, which could mean your child staying in the foster care system for an even longer time. Then there is the expense and heartache of litigation. And there is always the possibility they could end up with someone you would not want them to, when a judge who doesn’t know you or your family makes the decision for you.
*Avoid The Situation Altogether*
The best way to make sure your child goes to the right person if your first choice guardian cannot care for them is to name back-up or successor guardians. A successor guardian is an alternate in case something happens to the first guardian. The successor guardian has no legal claims over your child unless the first guardian is no longer able to care for them. You can name as many successor guardians as you like so you won’t ever have to worry about the right person taking care of your child.
You should always have a backup plan, and make sure to plan for multiple scenarios.
*Think About the Right People, not the Perfect Person*
I know you want to have the perfect person picked out in case you and your spouse were no longer able to care for your child. But don’t think about the perfect person (that person will always be you), think about the right people. Think about the people you love and trust, the ones who share your values. The ones who would love and care for your children like you would. Those are the people who would make the best guardians.