For parents, a key component of estate planning is often selecting potential guardians for minor children should something tragic happen to one or both parents. These considerations can be double-sided emotionally and difficult to face. On the one hand, who would ever take care of your children just like you would? Facing such a decision also brings to light many fears and concerns. On the other hand, making the decision can be freeing in a way, because you know your children will be cared for if something happens.
Our firm understands the struggle that parents might face when dealing with such a decision, and we also understand the concerns that a potential guardian faces if the actual appointed time comes to pass. Many people agree to be named as legal guardians without ever really thinking the situation will occur where they will have to take charge of the children. That doesn’t mean they don’t love the kids or want this responsibility, but when the time comes, a guardian can be suddenly overwhelmed with the reality of the responsibility.
On top of all these concerns, if there are any issues with the estate or administration of the estate, guardianship can be even more difficult. As a guardian, you might need access to trust accounts or other assets to best care for minor children — if your friend or family member has set up such provisions in his or her estate, you won’t be expected to pay for school, medical and other expenses out of your own pocket all the time.
Understanding how to engage with an estate as a guardian can be difficult. An estate lawyer can help you understand your responsibility and rights, and how to best protect the children who were left to your care.