If you have children, you already know that selecting a guardian for your children in the event of your death is an important part of any estate plan. Many parents struggle to figure out who would be the best person to raise their children. Consequently, it is not uncommon for people to put this off. No one wants to think about their own death, particularly if it means leaving underage children behind. That said, making this decision is a critical part of parenting.
UNDERSTANDING THE IMPORTANCE OF A TEMPORARY GUARDIAN
However, in addition to selecting a guardian for your children, depending on who you select, it’s important to select a temporary guardian. A temporary guardian is a person who cares for the children until such time as the permanent guardian can get there.
For example, if you decide your sister will be the best permanent guardian for your children, but she lives in California and you live in New York, it’s going take your sister some time to get to your children. In the meantime, someone needs to care for the children. If you don’t designate a temporary guardian, someone else will make the decision for you. Depending on the facts and circumstances of your death, that someone else may be the government.
To prevent your children from going into foster care, even temporarily, or to avoid a family fight during a time of grieving, it is essential that you name a temporary guardian to care for your children until the permanent guardian can arrive. It’s not a bad idea to identify a temporary guardian even in cases where your selected permanent guardian is, in fact, living in the same town as you are. Because you don’t know when you might die or become incapacitated, and you can’t begin to predict whether or not the permanent guardian selected will be in town at the time, a temporary guardian can provide much-needed care.
The temporary guardian does not have to be used if the permanent guardian is available. However, planning for this contingency gives you the peace of mind of knowing that regardless of who is in or out of town at the time of your death, your children will be cared for by people who they know and love.
IF YOU ARE IN NEED OF ESTATE PLANNING
If you are in need of estate planning, contact the office of Frost & Kavanaugh, P.C. We offer estate planning services. In addition to identifying guardians for your children, we can help you with your last will and testament, establishing a health care proxy, and creating a power of attorney. Preparing for the worst provides our clients with peace of mind, so they can enjoy the time they have with friends and family. Plan now so you won’t have to worry later. Contact our firm to discuss your estate planning needs. We look forward to talking with you about the unique needs of your family.