When the Unthinkable Happens: Putting Your Guardianship Wishes in Writing

No one ever wants to think about what would happen to their children if they were in a horrible accident, or worse. However, this is something that you can’t afford not to plan for. 

The unthinkable happens to people every day, and not being prepared with a guardianship plan for your minor children can put them at risk.

WHEN THE UNTHINKABLE HAPPENS

It’s “Date Night” Friday…

The one night a week when you and your spouse spend time together…talk about the week…have a nice leisurely dinner…just the two of you.

You’ve lined up a babysitter…

You left money for the pizza delivery guy and a list of contact numbers on the refrigerator door…right under the magnet you bought in Yosemite last summer…

You’ve got everything taken care of…

Except what happens to your children if the unthinkable happens and you never make it back home.

If you have minor children and you’re severely injured or worse in an accident, the police may have no choice but to place your children with Child Protective Services if they don’t have information or documentation indicating who you would want to care for your children. 

Once the immediate situation has passed, your children could then be at the mercy of the “system”.  There is no way the State can know who would be the best choice as a guardian for your children. 

So…what do you need to do?

PUT YOUR GUARDIANSHIP WISHES IN WRITING

Just telling your chosen guardian that you want them to take care of your children is not enough.  What you “said” is not legally sufficient and you could be placing your children at the mercy of the foster care system for a long period of time.  You need to have a plan in place, written instructions, and the proper legal documentation in order to ensure that your wishes are followed and that everyone knows what those wishes are. 

Another misconception is that if you name a guardian in your Will, that’s all you have to do.  

Wrong. 

A guardianship provided for in a Will only takes effect after you die. If you become incapacitated but are still alive, it means nothing. 

WHAT YOU NEED TO DO

It simply is not enough to discuss your plans for guardianship, there needs to be proper documentation that will hold up in court and assure that your children are taken care of and your wishes are followed. 

Our estate planning team can identify what you need to do to plan for your family’s future and answer any questions you have about an effective estate plan. Contact our team to put your guardianship plan in place at (626)793-9400.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Lagerlof, LLP is the largest firm in Pasadena. With 113 years of experience satisfying clients, we are leading the market in strategic support. We are a team of trusted legal advisors on a mission to provide every client with clarity and understanding to succeed in a complex world. Lagerlof, LLP stands for innovation tempered with practicality, for thoroughness countered with common sense, and above all else, for impeccable integrity.

© Lagerlof, LLP