Wills and Estate Planning - Conservators and Trustees for Children

Friday, November 4, 2016

    Having an up to date Will can be crucial to achieving your estate planning goals.

    One of the most important things a Will can do is to name the person or persons who will raise your children if you die before your children turn 18.

    Without a Will, a judge will likely appoint one of the closest relatives of your children as their guardian if both parents die before the children are adults.  A guardian is the person who is responsible for raising a child when there are no parents still living and able to raise a child.

    Sometimes parents have very clear thoughts on these matters, and would far prefer one relative over another.

    Indeed, sometimes parents would prefer that certain relatives never have the opportunity to raise their children.

    Other times, parents feel a more distant relation is a better choice, even thought the closer relatives are generally acceptable.

    Alternatively, in some cases parents feel that a close friend who is not related to the children at all would be the best choice.

    It is important to realize that without a clear direction from the parents, it is likely that the court will appoint one of the nearest relatives of the children as their guardian.

    One of the best ways for a parent to be sure that the judge knows their preferences in these regards is for the parent to state clearly in a Will what their wishes are, who they prefer to raise their children, factors to be taken into consideration in deciding who should be appointed as guardian, and even who the parents would prefer not be appointed, if this is a concern.