For many people, the realization that you need an estate plan comes when you learn you are pregnant and start thinking about the needs and future of your child. If something should happen to you and your spouse, who would be left to care for your child? The legal answer is: a guardian. However, while a parent can select who would act as guardian should the unthinkable happen, if you don’t make your choice in a legally recognized manner, it will be up to the court to choose for you. Here are several steps you can take to ensuring your choice will be honored.
Step 1: Agree on someone.
It’s best if both parents can come to an agreement about who the guardian will be. Take some time to consider your options and discuss your choice before either of you make any decisions.
Step 2: Discuss it with your choice.
No one has to be a guardian, and if you choose someone who doesn’t want the responsibility, that will only cause problems later on. Always discuss your choice with your guardian selection. It’s also good idea to discuss it with other family members as well so they know what your choices are and can express their own feelings about it.
Step 3: Write your will.
The only way to formally recognize a guardian choice is to create a last will and testament. You can make a will on your own, but it’s always a good idea to contact an estate planning attorney so you can be sure your will is properly created and properly includes your guardian selection.
Byrd : Garrett, PLLC is a member of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys.