MISTAKE #1 -- Named a couple to act as guardians when you don’t really want both people in the couple and you haven’t said what should happen if the couple broke up or one of the partners in the couple died. This happens all the time. Parents say they want a couple to be the guardians for their kids, but no one considers what should happen if the couple breaks up or dies at the same time.
I mean, do you really want your sister’s husband (or your brother’s wife) raising your kids?
Sometimes yes, but often, no. That’s not what you meant at all.
So don’t make this mistake. When naming a couple to serve as guardians, make sure to be clear about what you really mean.
MISTAKE #2 -- Only naming one possible guardian. What if something happens to your first choice? Or what happens if your first choice refuses to act as guardian? Then all the work and expense you put into naming a guardian was for nothing as a public court proceeding will still be needed to determine who will raise your minor children. In addition to that, anyone in the world can apply for this role and a judge, who does not know you or your wishes, will be making the decision.
MISTAKE #3 -- Considering financial resources when deciding who should raise your children. Your guardians do not have to, and often should not, be financial decision makers for your kids.
No, that’s not a typo. The mistake IS considering financial resources when deciding who should care for your kids. Your guardians don’t have to provide the financial resources, you do. And you can appoint someone other than the guardians to oversee the money, if you choose.
I see this one so often that I just had to write to you about it. Parents come into my office and sit across from me considering all of the possible people who could raise their kids if something happens to them and invariably someone will say …
“I just love Bob and Mary, but they really don’t have enough money.”
Stop right there. Bob and Mary don’t have to have enough money to raise your kids, they just have to have enough love to love them the way you would.
It’s up to you to leave enough financial resources behind for your version of Bob and Mary to comfortably care for your children with all the love they can.
MISTAKE #4 -- Not setting up a trust for your minor kids, which means the Court will distribute your money, it’s totally public and doesn’t protect your money from future divorces or lawsuits.
If you’ve made this mistake, the money you are leaving to your kids is at risk. It’s possible that someone you wouldn’t choose will handle it for your kids, they may receive it at 18 with no supervision, it could be tied up in Court for longer than you would want.
It’s not worth it. You’ve worked too hard for it. Don’t mess it up now.
Make sure you get the assets you are leaving behind for your kids handled.
MISTAKE #5 -- There may be someone in your life who you know you would never want raising your kids.
If that’s the case, it needs to be documented (confidentially is fine) and prepared so that in the event something happens to you, this person could not get appointed by the Court to raise your children.
Heck, you may not even want this person having any relationship with your children.
You’ve got to document it or exactly what you don’t want to happen, could happen.
MISTAKE #6 --Only named guardians for the long-term and did not make any arrangements for the short term if you were in an accident. What would happen in those immediate hours until your permanent guardians could arrive?
They won’t make any provision whatsoever for those key immediate hours after something happens.
Your kids could be taken into the care of strangers. The authorities would have no choice but to bring your kids into a foster care situation, even temporarily, while they figure out what to do.
It’s too risky. You never want that to happen to your kids, I know.
So let’s make sure it doesn’t happen.
Call Jeppesen Law to schedule your Free Initial Consultation and we’ll make sure you’ve named the right people to raise your kids, documented it properly, and that your kids will never be taken care of by anyone you don’t want or taken out of your home even for a minute. 208-477-1785