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Can you appoint a guardian in a will?

While it’s heart wrenching to think about not being there to raise your children, imagine a court choosing their guardian without input from you. That's why it's important to nominate a guardian in your will while it's still up to you.

What is a guardian?

This is the person who will be raising your children. A guardian is legally responsible for your child’s physical care, health, education, and other daily needs until your child reaches 18 years of age.

Some things to consider when selecting a guardian:

  • Does this person love your children?

  • Does the person have a good relationship with your children?

  • Does the person share your values, ethics, spiritual beliefs, and morals?

  • Is this person up to the task of raising your children?

  • Where does this person live? Will there be enough space for your children? Would your children be separated from their friends and family members?

  • Is this person in a stable relationship?

  • Is this person in good health?

Once you select someone it is important to discuss it with him or her. While most people are flattered, some simply cannot accept the responsibility for whatever reason. It's also a good idea to consider appointing an alternate guardian in case your first choice becomes unavailable.

What happens if you do not appoint a guardian?

If you have minor children, naming a guardian for them is one of the most important reasons you need a will.

If you should die without a will, and fail to designate a guardian, the courts will decide who takes care for your minor children.

Robert Adler, Esq. is an attorney who focuses his practice on wills, trusts and estates. He can be reached at 212-843-4059 or 646-946-8327.

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