Using your will to name a guardian for your minor child

On Behalf of | Dec 3, 2020 | Estate Planning, Wills |

Like many people, you may think that your will’s sole function is to establish who your assets will go to when you die. Yet, you and your spouse might have recently become parents for the first time. With a newborn in the picture, you must also consider who will take care of them in the event both of you pass away before they turn 18. To account for this consideration, you must amend or rewrite your will to name a guardian for your child.

Considerations to make when choosing a guardian

When choosing a guardian for your child, you will want to pick someone who would raise them in a similar manner to how you would. For many people, this is one of their relatives. Yet, naming a relative as your child’s guardian may not make sense if your relationship with your family is strained. Nor may it be a sound choice if your relatives live far away from you, if most of them have reached an advanced age or if they have financial issues that would make it difficult to provide for your child. In these cases, you may want to name someone outside your family as your child’s guardian.

Once you and your spouse have a guardian for your child in mind, you will want to approach them about the role. After you do, you will want to amend or rewrite your will to include language that appoints them to it. It is possible, though, that your first-choice candidate may be unwilling or unable to fulfill their role down the road. Or, the court may not approve of their appointment. As a precaution, you will want to name an alternate candidate as well.

The consequences of not naming a guardian

If both you and your spouse die before your child turns 18 and you did not amend or rewrite your will to name a guardian for them, the Arizona court system will appoint one. Since you never expressed your intentions in writing, the court may not follow them. As a result, your child could end up in the care of someone who you would not want to raise them.

The birth of your child is one of the many times in your life where you must update your will. By naming a guardian in it, you can ensure your child is cared for if you and your spouse unexpectedly pass away. To make sure you make this appointment properly, you will want an estate planning attorney to help you through the process.