GUESS WHAT? IT TAKES A LONG TIME TO SORT THAT OUT WITHOUT YOUR GUIDANCE!
I’ve seen first hand how cumbersome the system is to award guardianship to someone to care for your minor children even when there is a plan in place. Guess what happens when there isn’t a plan in place? Mass chaos. If you have minor children (kiddos under the age of 18) today is the day for you. Don’t have minor children but have grandchildren? Today is the day to give your kids a nudge to get their estate planning going.
So what happens when you die leaving behind kiddos under the age of 18? The state gets to make the judgment call about who is best suited to care for your children. That could be the biological parent that wasn’t always present and doesn’t have custody over your kids, your sister and brother in law who you don’t agree with about anything or your parents who are getting up there in years. The worst part is that the conversation you had with your best friends about how you really want the kids to be raised by them really will have no bearing because you are gone and they can’t prove it happened.
You think the family fights are bad about whose house you are going to for Christmas? Just wait until they argue about who is best suited to raise your kids! Your kids will have to sit in the lurch while the court sorts out the issue and listens to all the parties that think they are the best suited person to care and raise your kids. And if you have inheritance to give the kids but no one to oversee it (because you didn’t create a will or trust) the court will also have to decide who the guardian of your children’s estate will be. It’s messy. It’s time consuming. You get no say in the matter.
Your kids and loved ones can’t completely forgo the guardianship process if you die before your kids turn 18 but you certainly can make the process a heck of a lot easier for everyone involved if you designate your desired guardian. Even better, your family can forgo appointing a guardian of your kids’ estate if you’ve done the proper planning prior to your death. That means the person you want to handle your children’s financial affairs before they turn 18 will be able to do so without constant court oversight.
Estate planning helps you work through these issues. Schedule a free initial consultation to learn more.
In the next post I’ll tell you more about the state’s plan to oversee the financial and healthcare choices that loved ones make for each other (and of course, how you can avoid having to answer to a judge).