Justin Jeppesen: Is it possible to name guardians for minor children without a Will

Is it possible to name guardians for minor children without a Will?

Idaho parents must name guardians for their minor children in their Wills. Why? That is the only avenue Idaho parents have to legally appoint their choice of guardian, the person or persons named to raise their minor children.

Actually, there is an all-too-often used second option. The other option is to not create a Will and have the courts name a guardian for you.

For most of us, as parents of minor children, our kids are our most valuable asset (if you will) and we do not want to let a judge  name the person or couple that will raise our children. Remember, this judge knows nothing about you, your kids, or your family. Additionally, essentially anyone can apply to be guardian of your children. To me this is a scary thought.

You must create a Will, that covers guardians, to ensure your choice as guardian is voiced. In this blog post we cover common mistakes that can occur when naming guardians in our Wills. Most mistakes are not made because our hearts were in the wrong place. Rather it is because we don’t always factor in all the potential changes life can throw at us in any given time. If you are interested in creating a Will that names guardians for your minor children I recommend reading the previously mentioned blog post titled: Named Guardians in Your Will, Did You Make One of These Common Mistakes?

There is an additional way to ensuring your children are cared for by the people that you choose outside of a Will. That is to create a Power of Attorney for the Care and Custody of your Minor Children.

This document gives you the flexibility of knowing that if something short term were to happen, ie a vacation, illness, temporary incapacitation, the people you choose will guard over your children. This is a necessary part of a parent’s estate plan, because the Will only has authority after you have passed away. The power of attorney is effective only while you are alive. It also has a short shelf life and must be updated periodically. As a point of emphasis, the protection it provides is in addition to the protection that a Will provides.

So, yes it is possible to name temporary guardians for minor children without a Will, but this only has authority while you are still alive. There is a difference between nominating and appointing. If you are to pass away, the only way to appoint, or name, a guardian is through your Will.

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