Parents with young children in New York are often caught up in their day-to-day routines and thus fail to take time to engage in estate planning. However, without wills, they cannot guarantee that their wishes for their minor children will be upheld in the event that the parents end up dying unexpectedly. With an estate plan, a parent can easily appoint a guardian for the surviving children.
Appointing a guardian is especially important if one parent dies and the other one is not involved in the children’s lives. It can also come in handy if the living parent is unfit or estranged. Generally, anybody with connections to the children may apply to become their guardian in the correct probate court.
One the guardian is appointed, the expectation is that this party would take care of the children in the same way that a parent would. This includes providing clothing, food and shelter for the children. The guardian would also be expected to ensure that the children’s medical care and schooling needs are handled. In addition, if the children possess any assets, the guardian would manage them on the children’s behalf.
In addition to naming a guardian, naming a successor, or backup, may be beneficial in case the original potential guardian ends up dying first. Probate courts are not necessarily require to abide by the guardianship designations made in wills, but they generally do if the designations are in the children’s best interests. An attorney can help with putting together well-thought-out wills that effectively address the needs of those with minor children in New York.
Source: clevelandjewishnews.com, “In estate planning for your minor children, think beyond just money“, Andrew Zashin, Sept. 19, 2017