When a baby comes into a family either by birth or adoption, excitement is over the top. There are showers and flowers, names to choose, a nursery to decorate and that’s just the beginning! Along with the celebration comes an awesome sense of responsibility. We make sure we are eating the right food, avoiding anything that might be harmful, getting a good car seat and making sure it is installed properly.
Anyone who has raised a child to adulthood can, and will, be sure to tell the young parents how many more decisions await and how many more important ways you will be required to protect your child. Now, I am going to ask some tough questions, but please know that I am also available to help find good options.
In the unlikely, but possible event, that you and your spouse become disabled or die,
- Who will raise your children and make decisions for them? Who will instill in them the values you want passed on to them?
- Who will provide for them financially or manage a trust if one is set up for them?
- In many families, one or both of the spouses have been married previously. If that is the case, children may be biologically related to the Mother, the Father, or to both. That may affect decisions about guardianship and extra care may be needed to maintain relationships with siblings and step-parents.
- If you are a single parent, a surviving biological parent would likely be named guardian unless they were proven unfit. Unless you have other provisions made (through estate planning) that person would also likely be given control over the minor child’s inheritance until they reach eighteen. This can be changed if you do not want the biological parent in charge of the money.
Rather than leaving matters to chance, it is better to plan. It helps to remember that the person who provides the hands on care need not be the same person who manages the money for a minor child.
These are not simple considerations, but they are as important as choosing a good car seat or a good school for your child. It is wise to make contingency plans that cover the possibility of losing one or the other parent as well as the possibility of losing both.
No one can make decisions for your child’s future better than you, the parent. I can, however, help you with the process of looking at all the aspects of your particular situation. I also can prepare the necessary documents.