“Hoping for the best, prepared for the worst, and unsurprised by anything in between.” – Maya Angelou

As a parent, putting together a comprehensive estate plan can help you feel properly prepared for your child’s well-being. If you don’t have an estate plan in place and you were to pass away, your minor children would be in need of a guardian. If you’re married, your spouse would care for your children. And if you share custody with your child’s other parent, he or she would automatically step in to be the sole guardian.

It’s never easy to imagine these hypothetical situations, but leaving your family to deal with guardianship of your children in the probate court would be even worse. A guardianship petition costs money, and there is even a chance the court would award custody to someone you may not have approved of.

When I draft a will for my clients with minor children, I always include a guardianship nomination. This lets my clients nominate the people they would want to care for their children, should that need ever arise. If my client selects a guardian that is outside of Southern California, I will also draft a temporary guardianship document. This document allows for a temporary guardian to take immediate custody of a child if the parents are unable and until the permanent guardian can arrive. I also recommend that the temporary guardian also be named as the child’s emergency contact wherever it is required (daycare,school,sports programs, etc.).

If it’s appropriate, I also encourage my clients to place conditions on particular guardians before they gain custody, such as that they live in Southern California, or are able and willing to provide frequent contact with the child’s extended family.

I recommend having these important conversations with trusted family and friends. Because knowing that your children have been planned for is truly priceless.

Happy planning!


Disclaimer: The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. Brittany Britton is licensed to practice law in the state of California only