Indecision and Estate Planning with Kids
I was at a four year old’s birthday party last week and another mother and I were talking about our wills. She admitted that she and her partner did not have wills, in large part because they were having a very difficult time deciding who should have custody of their son, should the unthinkable happen. Many people drag their feet when it comes to their wills. Estate planning can seem morbid and horrifically sad—something that is easy to ignore or postpone, but it is so important when you have kids.
Here is the problem: if you don’t choose a guardian, the courts will choose for you. You know your kids better than anyone. And you know their potential guardians better than anyone. It is part of your job as a parent to protect your kids, and to do what is best for them. Don’t give the power to someone else to make such an incredibly important decision. If the court has to appoint a guardian, then all interested parties (e.g. grandparents, aunts or uncles, godparents, close family friends) will have to make their best case for why they should be the guardian of your kids. This is a heart wrenching process no matter what, but it can also cause anger and strife among a family during an incredibly difficult time. So take some time to think about it, and then talk to an attorney to ensure your estate plan makes the proper provisions for appointing a guardian of your choosing.