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A will may prevent child custody issues if you die

There are many reasons a child’s grandparents might need to assume the role of custodial caretaker. One of the most difficult of these would include the death of the child’s parents. At Donna Dougherty Law P.C., we understand that it’s not pleasant to think about what might happen to your children if you die. However, planning ahead is a wise choice for all Virginia parents, and may spare children unnecessary heartache and conflict.

How do you decide what happens to your children if you and the other parent are killed in a car accident or by some other cause? Do you have a say in who would be able to raise them? According to LIVESTRONG.COM, preparing a will is the most effective way to name someone you know and trust to take care of your children. In many cases, the designated caregiver would be a grandparent. Designating primary and secondary choices for your children’s legal guardian is a crucial step in gaining the court’s approval to grant legal guardianship to the person you have chosen.

If you don’t have a will, the decision on your children’s new guardian will go to a judge. The court will attempt to keep your children’s best interests in mind, but the decision may conflict with your own preferences.

You should also speak with the people you’ve designated about your decision. They may have reservations or reasons they believe they would not be a good fit, or they may appreciate the advance notice. If your appointed guardians are your children’s grandparents, it may be a good idea to review the terms of your will every few years as they age and circumstances change. Finally, it is important to discuss the issue with the other parent to be sure you are both on the same page.

Appointing a guardian for your children in the event of your untimely death is an important issue to consider. Learn more about legal caretaker issues by visiting our page.

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