Talk to a Probate Lawyer and Continuously Update Your Will
Your children are your legacy. You would do anything to protect them. It is possible that you already have a will. However, updating your will on a regular basis is the best way to protect your children. Although an estate lawyer will help you with this process, you can talk to a probate lawyer to discuss what other things you may want to add to your will.
It’s Okay to Change Your Mind
It is quite common for people to their choice of guardian. This is especially true for those that chose their parents as their child’s guardian. It doesn’t take a lot of effort or difficulty to change the legal guardian especially if your original will was drawn up by an attorney. You can just send an email to your attorney.
There is no need for court approval. If you are revising your will with a new attorney, you may have to set aside an hour of your time to explain to your attorney the plans you have set up. If you are using your existing attorney, it doesn’t cost a lot of money to change it. You simply need a one-page codicil.
It is not legally required for you to tell the prior guardians about your changes. However, if you feel that after your death your former guardian choices may dispute your new choices, it may be best to let them know about them. There really is no reason to feel guilty because you are acting in your children’s best interest.
Review at Every Family Transition
You should review your guardian choice every 5 or 10 years especially if you have young children. If you have a child that has special needs, it may be best to review your choice annually. There are also situations in life when it is necessary to think about changing your will.
If you divorce your spouse and they remarry, this may be the time to review your will. One scenario that has played out in a family is of a father who gets divorced and remarries, starting a new family with his new wife.
He may have a special needs child from his previous marriage that he no longer spends time with. The father may not be up-to-date with how his special needs son is doing in school. If his mother were to die, who would take care of this boy?
Living with his dad, he may feel alienated from him. You can make it a stipulation in your will for the guardian to foster a bond with your child and your parents. Different states have different laws regarding grandparents’ rights.
Although these wishes as well as a named guardian don’t have legal weight, if any disagreements come up in regards to guardianship and visitation, a judge will consider these wishes.
Substance and Physical Abuse
If violence or substance abuse has been an issue, you may want to avoid your child living with their other parent in the event of your death. In your will, you can put a provision where you state your wishes and why as well as any resources that are available to the trustee to oppose the other parent.
The state will usually defer to the surviving parent. However, they will take your wishes into consideration. This is especially true if the child is older and agrees with you.
Even with this, the other parent may want to seek guardianship to have access to your estate. Your best bet is dividing up the guardian of the estate. If the other parent is cut off from money, they may be less likely to seek custody.
If your child is a member of the LGBT community, you also want to make sure you choose a guardian that will not dismiss and reject your child’s identity. If you were raised in a religious and conservative community, you may be wary of choosing a family member as guardian for your child.
Write It All Down
If there are any other wishes you have about your child’s upbringing, write it all down and store them along with your important documents. You may want your child to go to Catholic school. Making a “handbook” on how to raise your child can be helpful for your child’s guardian.
This will also make things less difficult should some family members that disagree with your wishes get involved. With everything in writing, these troublesome family members can’t really interfere.
Ask for Permission
Before you appoint someone as guardian, ask for permission. You may be inclined to keep your choice a secret as a way to avoid drama. However, this is not the right way. Your choice of a guardian may not be the right fit. They are unprepared should you die.
Definitely, have a discussion with your choice of guardian to see if they are able or willing to do it. It can prepare them for some of the things they may have to manage should they decide to raise your child should you die.
Enlist an Estate Lawyer
Although it is possible to draft your will online, when it comes to your child’s well-being, your best bet is getting help from an estate lawyer. A lawyer can help prepare you for any complications or blind spots. if you can’t afford an attorney, your local law school may offer free legal services. The American Bar Association and the pro bono organization, Public Counsel, can also help.
The Wrap Up and the Role of Probate Lawyer
There are a few reasons to update your will for your children’s benefit. You may want to change guardians because your new choice is a better fit. Your family could be going through a transition. Another reason to update your will is to shelter your children from abuse.
Talking these things over and writing out your will with an estate planning attorney in Las Vegas. A probate attorney can help your loved ones fulfill your wishes if and when you die. A probate attorney in Las Vegas can be useful in giving you some tips to make the lives of those that survive you easier.