Parents Need A Last Will And Testament

Have you ever wondered what happens to a minor child when his or her parents die? Good parenting requires that Parents have a Last Will And Testament. More informative articles, ebooks, and forms on Making A Will, Last Will, and Last Will And Testament are linked to

Parents, What Happens To Your Children Upon Your Death? Part 1

As young people, most of us never think about dying. But sadly, not all parents live long enough to see their children grow up. Sometimes the unthinkable occurs. If you are fatally injured in an auto accident or at work, what will happen to your children? Who will raise them? Who will give them guidance? Who will see that they have proper care? A custodian of the children is the person who will handle these matters and make the decisions that affect your children. The real question then is who will be custodian? Good parenting requires that Parents each have a Last Will And Testament.

If something fatal occurs to one parent, the surviving parent will usually have custody of the minor children. Unless there is child abuse or neglect by the surviving parent, a Court will not be involved.

However, if something fatal occurs to both parents, then a court has to decide who will have custody of the minor children. Courts look first to the Last Will And Testament of the deceased parents. If a person is named to have custody of the children, the court will generally give that person custody. Courts have a duty to enforce a person's Last Will unless there are laws preventing it. If the deceased parents do not have a Last Will And Testament, then the Court will look to state laws to see who has priority to have custody of the children. Usually, the Court will appoint a family member, but the Court may determine that that is not in the children's' best interest and appoint someone else to be custodian.

In some cases, the deceased parent is a single parent and there is not the other parent to have custody. In these cases, the Courts will act the same as if both parents have died. The Court will first look at the Last Will And Testament of the deceased parent and enforce it, if at all possible. Without a Last Will for guidance, the Courts will look at state law. Again, Courts will normally appoint a family member as custodian, but may appoint someone else.

As you can see, if the unthinkable occurs to you, the only way you can have a say in who raises your children is for you to write your Last Will and name a custodian before something fatal occurs. If you wait, it will be too late.

Often, we ignore this issue and do not write our Last Will And Testament because we think that everyone knows who we would want to have custody or we think that a Court would surely pick the "right" family member or the same family member as we would. Remember, the judge who will make the decision probably doesn't know you. The judge may see the "right" person as someone different from what the person you would want to be custodian. Without a Last Will for guidance in naming a custodian, a Court will look at state laws for priority of who should be custodian. The person that you would want to be custodian may not have priority or may not even be a family member. You may want a friend to be custodian. If two or more family members have equal priority, a Court may appoint the family member you like least.

If you specifically do not want a certain family member to have custody of your children, you can put that into your Last Will And Testament. It will have an impact as Courts are charged with the duty of enforcing your Last Will whenever possible.

The bottom line is that if you care about who will raise your children and who would have the responsibility for taking care of them if something fatal occurs to you, then you must write your Last Will And Testament and name the that custodian you want.

Here is a word of caution about Last Will And Testaments, state laws may change your wishes expressed in your Last Will And Testament. Click here for more will info on what a Last Will And Testament does and doesn't do.

In Part 2, we will look at what happens to property that is suppose to go to the children of deceased parents.

The above information is general information only. For specific questions or clarification, contact a lawyer licensed in your state.

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