Why Every Parent Needs a Will
Only about one-half of all Americans have a will. For some, it is simply a matter of assuming that they have time to create one later. For others, it is a process that they associate with excessive wealth. Unfortunately, both of these assumptions can be untrue, and parents of young children, regardless of whether they also have wealth and assets, are often the ones with the most to lose in the absence of this crucial legal document.
Who Will Care for Your Children?
Parental instinct may include trying to plan for everything. Parents set up college funds and baby-proof their houses, interview babysitters and preschools, and even decide where to live based on neighborhood statistics and school performance. Despite all of this, few parents stop to consider what will happen to their children if they were to die unexpectedly or become incapacitated as a result of an accident or other event. Even fewer parents take action to ensure that their wishes are made known and carried out.
In the absence of a will, any family member can come forward as a potential guardian for your child. The final determination, based upon what the state considers the best interest of the child, is made by a judge. Sadly, this leaves a lot of room for what the parents might have considered error in the assignment of guardianship. It also requires additional time, effort, and money on the part of family members who may want to step-up and help with surviving children. Of course, the most upsetting problem is what will happen to surviving children until a guardian is appointment.
Without a will, parents' personal beliefs, parenting style preferences, and the values and ideals that the parents' wanted to instill in their children can all fall to the wayside.
How and Why a Will Ensures the Best Future for Your Child
When parents take the time to create a will, they are able to consider all aspects of their children's care and place particular emphasis on choosing the person or persons that they feel will be able to best carry out and provide the care that they consider most appropriate. With a will, parents are also able to consider whom they feel their child would be the most comfortable with in their absence, and parents can feel a certain sense of peace knowing that the named guardian is capable of providing an environment that they, as parents, value.
Parents are also provided a great deal of flexibility when considering guardians for their children. Within a will, parents can name alternate guardians, should their primary choice be unable to fill the role for whatever reason. Or, parents can divide up the guardianship time. For example, children might stay with their grandparents for a term but then go to live with another family member or friend, giving aging grandparents quality time with the children but then relieving them of duties that they may not be able to fulfill long-term. The possibilities are only limited by the expectations and wishes of the child's parents.
Once the will is created, it is amendable at any time. Hence, it gives parents the opportunity to change guardians should one of the named guardians become too ill to care for children or pass away. This also gives parents the freedom to choose a guardian that best fits their children's changing needs, based on the children's ages and stages of development.
Get Experienced Legal Help Planning and Writing Your Will
At Herrling Clark Law Firm Ltd. we take the time to understand your family's unique needs, explain your options, and explore all possible solutions to ensure that your plan is executed according to all applicable laws. Do not let another minute pass you by; plan for your future and the future of your children. Schedule a free initial consultation with our experienced Appleton estate planning attorneys and Green Bay estate planning attorneys. Call 920-739-7366 today.