Friday, December 7, 2012

A Tough Parenting Question: Who To Name as Guardian?

The news this week has been energized by baby talk, Royal baby talk.  There is the speculation of whether her intense morning sickness is a sign of twins, to whether king or queen to be will arrive in 2013, to maternity fashion.  But me being me wondered, hmmmm, who would they name as a guardian to the child -- Harry, Pippa, someone else?

Yes, as an estate planning and probate attorney as well as the mother of young children (currently 4.5 and 2.5 years old), I know the importance of answering that tough parenting question -- who will raise the child(ren) if both parents die?  Whenever I voice these types of questions to my husband he gives me a puzzled look and says, have you considered a new area of law, something happier?  To which I respond, there is none -- lawyers come into the picture when life happens, the unpleasant aspects of life happening.

And so I find myself writing to you dear reader.  If you have children 18 and younger, have you nominated a guardian?  If so, did you do so legally?  In Wisconsin it must be done via a will, no other means allows you to control the nomination process.  Most likely you have not, mainly because you and your partner cannot come to agreement on this role.  If that is the case, consider the following:
· Who has a close bond with your child;
· Who is in good health to raise your child;
· Who shares your family’s values in terms of religion and education;
· Who could realistically take on the financial responsibility of raising your child;
· Who lives in an area where you would want your child raised; and
· Who does your child want to live with (if age appropriate)?

No, these are not pleasant questions. But the last thing a child(ren) needs, in my opinion, is a dispute over who will raise them if both parents just died in a car crash.  Agree with me?  Then answer these questions, and do the adult thing and create a will.  Whether you are the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge or ordinary American parents, it is a question you really should answer.

Might one of these members of the Royal Family be a guardian for the Royal baby?

Remember, a blog is not a lawyer.  Always seek advice from an attorney licensed in your state.  Thanks for reading, and I'll be back next week with more thoughts on illness, death and taxes for the middle class.

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