Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Name One At A Time

Ray and Liz have decided where their children will fit best if Ray and Liz were to pass away before they are grown.  Liz’s nephew is near in age and adores his cousins, and Aunt Joy and Uncle Tom are great parents. 

Choosing possible guardians to name in their Wills is both more and less than picking a future family for Ray and Liz’s children.  But the court would not appoint the whole family to serve as guardian. Instead, the court will appoint an adult to serve, or sometimes two adults to serve together. 

Of course, families and marriages change over the years.  While Ray and Liz could name both Joy and her husband, Tom, to serve as co-guardians, we recommend that they name one person, not both.

What if they named them together, but Joy and Tom later divorce?  How would the court decide which to name to serve?  Or whether to skip both entirely since they cannot serve together? 

We do not want the court to have to guess about it.  If their children end up having to live through the death of their parents, Ray and Liz do not want them to be at risk of a custody battle between divorced potential guardians.

Next week we will write about how to give the court flexibility to appoint both spouses to be guardians together in the right situation, without the risk of any custody dispute.  For assistance considering your own estate planning choices, including how to name a guardian, please call our office at (815) 436-1996 for an appointment. 

©2015 Gruber Law Office, Ltd.

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