As mentioned in an earlier post, even though a couple may not have enough assets that could warrant a great deal of estate planning, if you have minor children, it is still extremely important that you get a will done.
With a last will and testament, you can designate who will serve as guardian of your minor children in the event that both parents are dead or incapacitated. This will only be effective if something happens to both parents, not just one. However, there can be some issues if one of the parents had their parental rights terminated. In that case, there could be a situation where the guardianship designation would then take effect. Through proper drafting, parents can responsibly plan for a timely appointment of a new guardian for their children without a lot of drama and confusion for other family members. Additionally, the written designation will take higher statutory preference over relatives of the children.
In the event that parents die or become incapacitated without any guardianship designation, a lot of uncertainty as to the children may arise. Interested relatives of the children (such as grandparents, siblings, uncles, aunts, etc.) could have higher statutory preference. Plus, without any clear designation, the determination of a guardian over children can result in a long, litigated hearing with family members in a probate court. And, in the end, the children could end up with someone the parents never intended to be guardian.
Through simple planning, parents can avoid family expense, drama, and heartache that often comes with legal battles over guardianship of their children. Contact the skilled attorneys at The Larsen Firm today for more information.