Young adults raising a family often do not create wills because they believe they do not have enough valuables. However, anyone who has minor children could benefit from creating a will.
If you are a parent of a minor child, you can use your will to name a guardian for your child in case something happens to prevent you from providing your child’s care yourself. You can also use your will to name someone to manage any money your child may receive after your death.
Without a will, a court may decide who will care for your child
If you die without a will, your child’s other parent will most likely be the one to take care of your child. However, if the other parent is considered unfit or if both parents die, a court must appoint a guardian to care for your minor child.
A court will choose a guardian based on what it think’s your child’s best interests are. As a parent, you probably have a better understanding of your child’s needs and your family’s dynamics than a court could hope to acquire, but without a will, you cannot influence the court’s appointment.
When deciding who to name as your child’s guardian, consider:
- Where the potential guardian lives
- If this person’s beliefs align with yours
- What the potential guardian’s parenting skills are
- If the potential guardian is willing to serve as guardian
Consider also naming a guardian for your child’s estate
Another detail to consider is how financially responsible the potential guardian is. Minor children cannot own property or money, so if you have money or other assets that may pass to your child, it may also make sense to name in your will a guardian for your child’s estate. You could choose one person to serve as both the guardian for your child and for his or her estate. However, this is not always wise.
Sometimes the person who would provide the best care for your child may not be skilled at money management. If this occurs, the guardian may end up squandering your child’s inheritance before he or she turns 18.
To prevent this from occurring, you can select someone else to serve as the guardian of your child’s estate. Consider choosing someone who is trustworthy, good at managing money and willing to serve.
It can be difficult to think about what might happen if you die. However, planning for this possibility can provide protection for your child if this situation ever occurs. Selecting a guardian for your child can help make sure that an appropriate adult will be available to begin providing love and care for your child as soon as possible with as few obstacles as possible. Selecting someone to manage your child’s money will help make sure your child’s best financial interests are cared for until your child becomes legally old enough to manage money on his or her own.