Use Will to Appoint Guardian for Minor Children

On August 6, 2012, in Estate planning, by John A. Weber IV, ESQ.

Use Will to Appoint Guardian

Use will to appoint guardian for your minor children.

It’s hard to plan for the worst, but failing to do so may only make things harder.  When drafting a will, it is all too easy to imagine that it will only be used when our children are grown, perhaps with families of their own. But thinking this way may cause us to focus too narrowly on deciding who gets our property.  What if things don’t happen according to this timeline?  What if you die before your children are able to take care of themselves?  Who will care for them?  Who would you like to make this decision – yourself or a court?

New York’s Domestic Relations Law allows parents to use wills to appoint guardians for their minor children.  Guardians can be appointed to take physical custody of children, and to look after the finances and assets that are left to those children.  Further, parents can choose a different guardian for each of these tasks – one to look after the child, one to administer the child’s finances.  When a guardian is appointed, courts will generally respect the parent’s decision (although a court could find that the guardian is unfit).  However, if a parent doesn’t appoint a guardian, the court will make this decision itself.  If you feel uncomfortable about leaving such a decision in the hands of a court, The Law Firm of Vaughn and Weber can help you draft a will that appoints a guardian for your child.

If you have questions about this or other legal issues, call The Law Firm of Vaughn, Weber & Prakope, PLLC at (516) 858-2620 to schedule a free consultation.

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