When it comes to estate planning, you always need to be looking ahead. As proud parents of a new baby, you need to consider the unthinkable: that you may not be around to look after your child forever. Life is full of surprises, and it only takes one accident or fatal illness to leave your child orphaned. What would they do without you?
Many parents overlook this when creating their estate plan. They plan how they will transfer their assets to their family but do not consider who will look after their children if they die prematurely.
A guardian is a name given to the person who raises your child if you die. If the other parent survives, they will usually assume this role, yet if you both die, who would take over?
You need to discuss guardianship with the proposed person. After all, raising someone’s child is a big responsibility. If your child is older, it may be appropriate to talk to them about it too. You can choose more than one person to share the load, perhaps giving one control of assets you leave to raise the child, and another the physical role of bringing up your child.
Once you decide upon a guardian and they accept, seek the help of an estate planning attorney to get it legally recorded. Remember, estate plans should be regularly updated. If you change your mind about who you wish to look after your child, you can amend the paperwork. What is important is that you have a plan. Otherwise, should something happen to you, it will be left to a court to decide. Wouldn’t you prefer to determine your child’s future yourself?