For New Jersey parents, one of the most pressing needs when creating an estate plan is the process of designating a guardian who would be entrusted with the care of minor children in the event of the death of the parents. This is a serious decision, one that many parents fail to contemplate because they are fearful of considering their own mortality. At the end of the day, however, many children have suffered when their parents failed to complete this important part of even a simple estate plan.
The first step involves selecting the individual or individuals who would be best suited to take over a parental role. There are a number of considerations involved in this decision. Some parents want their children to be raised within the same family, and will select relatives to provide their care. Others are close with family friends and feel that those individuals can provide the best possible home for their kids, if the need should arise.
Regardless of how the selection is made, it is also important to take the time to talk with the designated guardians about the issue. It can be uncomfortable for all involved to have an in-depth discussion about the possibility of an untimely death and a sudden transfer of parenting responsibilities. However, if that should eventually come to pass, having had those discussions would give the guardians more information concerning the wishes of the parents and any specific needs of the children.
Designating a guardian for one’s minor children is an important part of creating a simple estate plan. Those in New Jersey who complete this process can rest assured that they have done everything possible to ensure that their children are well cared for in the event of the death of the parents. As with any aspects of estate planning, this is one form of protection that will most likely never be needed, but is important to have in place nonetheless.
Source: Boone County Connection, “Estate Planning Is About More Than Just Your Stuff And Who Gets It”, Charles J. Moore, June 30, 2014