Determining who will raise your children if you die can be a difficult decision, but avoiding the issue of guardianship is the number one reason why people fail to plan their estate or have a will.
Unless a guardian is named in estate documents the courts will name someone they feel is right for the role of guardian. Court battles for custody can be long and drawn out, especially if there is more than one applicant who is seeking custody.
The worst-case scenario is that no one applies to take custody of your children. The courts may decide to give custody to someone in your family who really doesn’t want the responsibility, or your children may end up in foster care.
When planning your estate try to choose guardians for your children who you know will want to take them. Don’t feel that you have to choose a family member; friends you trust can also be ideal candidates.
By naming someone other than the guardian to be the trustee of your children’s money you ensure that there are some checks and balances in place when it comes to deciding how that money is spent.
Mr. Abraham is an experienced attorney and founding member of the Law Office of Richard K. Abraham. The Sparks, MD office of the firm concentrates its practice in Estate Planning, Elder Law, Probate, Medical Assistance (Medicaid), Guardianship, Asset Preservation and Fiduciary Representation.
He is an active member in a number of professional organizations that focus on law, the senior community, and estate planning. He works with clients in Central Maryland, especially in Towson, Hunt Valley, Lutherville/Timonium, Parkville, White Marsh, Bel Air & Northern Baltimore City.
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