Wills are not just for elderly Georgians who have substantial wealth. Wills and estate planning are also essential for Georgia parents of any age. It is especially important for young Georgia parents to have an estate plan to establish a guardian for any minor children.
While the thought of one's children being orphaned is hard for most parents to consider, it is important not to leave your children in a vacuum if a tragic event does happen. It is not simply enough to ask the children's god-parents or family members to step up in case of a tragedy. If you fail to create will that makes arraignments for minor children then you may have set the stage for a severe family drama.
A court usually decides who will care for your child if you die without making any written arrangements. A judge may start with your siblings or the children's grandparents if they are young enough to care for minors. If you fail to provide a written arrangement you may have a custody battle between family members or the reverse problem of no family member wanting to take on the responsibility of caring for your children.
When choosing someone to take care of your child in the event of your death, make sure to ask yourself some key questions:
- Can the prospective guardian successfully integrate my children into a new household?
- Do my children get along with the prospective guardian?
- Would my children have to relocate? How disruptive would this be?
- Does the prospective guardian have differing values than me? Will the guardian raise my children in a way that I am comfortable with?
- Will my children be able to stay together?
An experienced Georgia estate planning attorney can help walk you through the process of planning a guardianship for minor children and make sure that your wishes for your children's care are properly documented.
Source: Forbes, "Estate Planning For Women (And the Men Who Love Them)" Deborah Jacobs, 5/19/11