Why Parents Must Legally Nominate Guardians for Their Children
It is important to designate in writing exactly who you want to care for your children if something happens to you.If you don?t do this, your children could be raised by someone you would never want!
Maybe you know who you would want to raise your kids and they?ve even agreed.Maybe you?ve even told your family and friends, but haven?t documented it.This is a recipe for disaster.
Not too long ago, there was a case up in Newport Beach in which the parents of two children (5 and 7) who went out to dinner and a movie and left their children with their neighborhood teenage sitter.They left her their cell phone numbers and asked her to call if there were any problems with the kids.In a sad twist of events, mom and dad were struck by a drunk driver that came across the median and they were killed instantly.When the police discovered where they lived by looking in the husband?s wallet for his driver?s license, they saw that there were pictures of small children, so the police drove to their home.They discovered the babysitter waiting up for the parents and the children fast asleep in bed.The police asked the sitter for a phone number of a relative or close friend and she could not produce either.Because the police did not know who to contact to give temporary custody of the children, the children were taken into Child Protective Services for the evening until it could be determined where to place the children.When the husband?s sister discovered that her brother and sister-in-law had been killed in the accident, she immediately tried to obtain custody of the children.However, there were other family members that wanted the children as well.She knew that it was her brother and sister-in-law?s wishes that she raise the children if anything were to happen to them but there was no documentation to that effect.Further, there was no estate plan in place to finance the care and raising of their children.The deceased parents? estate went through a long expensive probate and the aunt racked up thousands of dollars in legal fees fighting for permanent custody of the children.When all was said and done and she finally got permanent custody, she was nearly bankrupt.
This tragedy could have been easily avoided.They could have designated in writing exactly who they wanted to care for their children temporarily and for the long term and how they wanted decisions made.
And it?s important that this be designated properly.A lot of times, we?ve see people say things like, ?I want my brother Tom and sister-in-law Jane.?But when we ask questions, such as, ?Well, do your really want Tom and Jane both as your designated guardians?What if Tom died or Tom and Jane got divorced?Do you really want Jane as a legal guardian or do you really just want Tom to be their guardian??
So it?s important that you designate in writing exactly who you want to care for your children and that you give clarity as to exactly how the right decisions should be made.For a free special report on how to select a suitable guardian for your children or to learn more about planning for your children, please contact us at (225) 298-0011 or visit www.myrnaearroyo.com.
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