Children are a blessing… But being a parent is a difficult job! Most parents of young children already feel overwhelmed with the necessary day to day responsibilities, the last thing they want to do in their down time is think about the difficult and emotional subject of guardianship and estate planning. This explains why, as this article from The Huffington Post points out, “over half of the population doesn’t have a will, and the percentage only climbs for those with kids — the group that actually can’t afford to live without one.”
The author of the article goes on to explain that most parents will give the same four reasons for not having nominated guardians for their children—and that ALL of these reasons are bogus. The article does an excellent job explaining why parents shouldn’t let any of these excuses (or “myths”, as the author refers to them) stop them from taking the necessary steps to provide for their children.
These “myths” are no surprise to estate planners, who know all too well how hard it can be to think about your own death, and to what lengths people will go to avoid doing so, but the one that is the most concerning is the one the article lists as #3: “A good number of parents say they’ve stashed a letter somewhere, or have this email on their laptop outlining their last wishes…”
When it comes to your children’s future, there is no substitute for a professionally prepared nomination of guardians. Informal documents such as a letter or e-mail simply may not hold up in court. “No matter how eloquently you’ve voiced your preferences, your letter or email is not legally binding. A judge could take it under advisement, but he could also come to his own ‘better’ assessment. And why risk it? If you’ve taken the time to consider the right person, why not just make it official and seal the deal?”
If you have minor children, executing a nomination of guardians may be the most important way to secure their future if something should happen to you. Contact our office for more information about how to choose (and nominate) guardians for your child.