Often, parents don't fully plan for what would happen if they unexpectedly passed away and left
their children behind. If you die without a will or estate plan in place, the courts will decide who will raise your children. Likely, they will choose a family member. But if you have no close family, or if you don't want a certain family member to be the one to raise your children, you will not have a say without a named guardian. If you prefer a family friend to be their guardian, someone who has a close relationship with your children, the courts will have no way of knowing this without an estate plan in place.
Things to consider when it comes to selecting guardians include:
- How close they live to where your children currently reside (proximity).
- How closely their lifestyle aligns with your children's interests.
- A similar religious background can help to maintain consistency for children.
- Taking on children is also a major financial responsibility and is important to consider.
Additionally, an estate plan provides options to manage your children's inheritance effectively. If not stipulated in an estate plan, available funds would be automatically distributed to your children once they turn 18 years old, whether or not they are capable of managing the inheritance properly. A minor's trust could be established. The trustee would manage the inheritance and disbursements, not necessarily ending when the children reach the age of majority.
It's much easier to avoid probate and costly legal fees for your heirs by getting an estate plan in place now, and we have experience to help in either situation. There are many obstacles in life; let Anderson | Hinkins provide you with the legal solutions to overcome them.