How To Assign Post-Mortem Guardianship Of Your Children

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No parent likes to think that he or she will die and leave behind children that are too young to care for themselves, but it does happen. When both you and your spouse die suddenly, do you know where your children will go? It is a very sad, confusing and scary time for children, and you want yours to be in good hands. They can be, if you "will" them to someone else's care. However, there is a right way and a wrong way to go about it. A family lawyer can help you establish post-mortem guardianship of your surviving children the right way.

First, Find One or Two People to Be Guardians

You want to find a guardian or couple of guardians who are good with children, share your ideals and parenting styles and who already know your children very well. Do not leave your children with a distant cousin or a family friend whom your children have only met once or twice. Once you have selected the most appropriate candidates, you will have to get their permission to be your children's guardians. A lawyer will not make it legal and binding if your chosen candidates do not fully agree to take the position. If you have extended family willing to take your children in, they still have to make it legal and binding.

Next, Sit Down with the Lawyer

Although those you have chosen to be guardians do not have to be at the initial meeting with the lawyer, it is better for everyone if they are. They will be responsible for your children completely, in the event of you and your partner's untimely demises. Therefore, they may want to contribute stipulations to the legal guardianship contract or just be present to hear what your stipulations are. Once the lawyer has drawn up the guardianship papers, then you, your partner, and your selected guardians all have to sign the document in the presence of the lawyer. 

Why You Involve Family Law and Not Wills and Probate Law

Willing children to another adult is considered slavery. Ergo, you cannot "will" your children to their emergency guardians and cannot consult with a wills and probate lawyer. Because your children would become part of their guardians' families, you have to go through a family lawyer, like those at Woehrle Franklin Dahlberg Jones PLLC, to designate guardians in the even that you and your partner are no longer living.