Many parents are concerned about the welfare of their minor kids incase disaster strikes and the parents pass away. When the parents are raising the kids together, the concern is what happens when both parents die at the same time.
If you are a single parent, and the other parent is dead, or is unavailable for one or more reasons, then the main worry is what happens to your kids when you die before they become adults.
Naming Someone to Care for Minors
If two parents are looking after a kid, and one of them dies, it is automatic for the living spouse to assume full custody of the kids. This applies even if the parents are split, but as long as they are taking care of their kids.
Legally, the child has to be raised by an adult who is legally mandated to take care of the kid. If there isn’t anyone capable of doing this, then another adult designated the guardian is appointed by the court.
Many people assign someone to be the personal guardian in their wills. Make sure you have the right will to make this succeed.
Courts have the Right to Overturn Your Decision
It is true that you can name a personal guardian to serve until the person is approved by the court. The judge reserves the authority to name another person if he is convinced that the one who is currently serving doesn’t have the best interest of the kid at heart.
You will be surprised that a kid isn’t regarded as “property” that you can just leave to someone like any other property. If you nominate a person that has a history of child abuse, criminal background or drug addiction, then be sure that the judge will revoke your selection.
Picking the Right Personal Guardian
You might have an idea of who you wish to name as the child’s personal guardian. As a parent, you will opt for an adult that is able to love and care for this child. Some parents however, struggle to decide who the guardian should be, and at times two parents won’t agree on who the best choice is.
If your children don’t share the same biological parents, then you might want to name a different guardian for each kid. This is legal, and the court will follow the arrangement that you choose.
Choosing Someone to Manage Your Kid’s PropertyMinors can’t own property outright without an adult in control. Some states allow the kid to own property but up to a certain amount.So, when you decide to leave property to a minor, you need to name someone to manage the property till the kid becomes an adult. Make sure you have a few names to turn to in case the first person decides not to serve.
The good thing is that the appointment of a property manager is binding and won’t be subject to a review by the court. Reason being that the property manager only controls money and property, which you have the right to leave as you wish.
One of the best options you have is to leave your property to the existing spouse to manage on behalf of the kids. This is true only if the both of you trust each other, but won’t work if the second spouse isn’t financially able or if they are unavailable.
If you decide to leave the property to the spouse, it is advisable that you have a second person to be on standby. This allows you to have someone to manage the property in case both of you pass away simultaneously.
The role of the property manager is to try and handle the property on behalf of your kids. They use it for paying for normal living expenses and education as well as health needs. Make sure you pick someone with high integrity to do this.
In conclusionTake time to understand what your kids need so that you assign the right guardian for them. You can talk to your estate planning lawyer to advice you on what to do, what to look for in a guardian and how to come up with the directives.