Are your kids looked after?

Importance of Guardianship Nominations

Meet John and Jane. John and Jane are both 33 years-old and have two children, Jack age 3 and Jake age 1. John and Jane presently do not own a home, but they are saving for a down payment on a house. They hope to buy a house within the next couple years, and they have saved a sizable amount.

John and Jane want a date night, and they need it desperately. Raising kids is hard work! They ask Jane’s parents to babysit, and John and Jane go out for a nice dinner – the first in a very long time. John and Jane have a wonderful time, and they are finally able to enjoy a glass of wine without any distractions. Tragically and unpredictably, they are both killed in a car accident on their way home.

What will happen to their children? You see, John and Jane would have wanted John’s sister to take guardianship of their children. John’s sister also has a young family of her own, and they both thought John’s sister would agree to take on guardianship. While Jane had two brothers, both brothers are still in college living the carefree and fun college life. Neither are prepared to take on such responsibility. Maybe one day, but definitely not now.

Unfortunately, John and Jane did not have a will, trust, or any other arrangements prepared. There is nothing expressing their wishes. As a result, the court will now have to get involved to determine who gets guardianship of the children. Even more surprising, John’s sister has no interest in take on two more children. She just doesn’t have the resources for two more. Jane’s brothers both decline guardianship as they are woefully unprepared to take on two children. The only people in John and Jane’s life who are willing to take on this responsibility are Jane’s parents who are both older and long retired.

What happens to their assets, including the savings for their home? Without a will or trust, the assets will be distributed according to state law, and John and Jane’s estate will have to go through probate. Probate can take anywhere between a few months to a couple years.

Circumstances like this may be rare, and we certainly hope it does not happen to you. However, we at Horner & Park strongly believe that families with young children should be prepared in case anything like this should ever happen. Contact us today and allow us to explain what we can do to help you. Regardless of whether or not you call us at Horner & Park, we sincerely hope you take action to put some plan in place to protect your children and ensure your wishes are honored.