GRAND RAPIDS, MIch. (WOTV) - It is amazing, but 74% of parents with minor children do not have a will. Why is it so important to have a will if you have minor children? Because a will is the document that names the guardian for your children should something happen to you and your spouse or ex. Without a will naming an official guardian your children could be the focus of a court battle if relatives cannot agree. In a worst case scenario, your children could end up with the court deciding who will raise them. If there are no relatives they could end up in the foster care system so it is well worth the time and expense to have a will drawn up and a guardian named.
If you are divorced and have physical custody and joint legal custody with your ex, he would take over physical custody of the children in the event of your death. However, in the rare instance that he is no longer living or has had his legal and physical custody taken away by the court, a guardian should be named to take over the raising of the children.
Michigan allows persons appointed in parent's will to control who raises their children. There are a couple of rare instances where the court may override that decision so it is advisable to see a good probate attorney to help you write your will and explain all the details.
You want to think very carefully about who should be named as guardian of your children should something happen to you. It is one of the most important and difficult decisions you will ever have to make. You want to find someone who shares your values, loves your children unconditionally and is willing and able to assume the responsibility. Many people want someone who also shares religious beliefs and parenting styles. Relatives are often the first choice. Consider the age of the person you want as guardian to be sure they will be up to the job until your children reach the age of eighteen. It is best not to name a couple since there is always a chance that their marriage may fail in the future and they will no longer be together. Instead, chose the person that fits your criteria the best and name that person. That way, you will know that they will be the ones caring for your children no matter has occurred in their own marriage.
Lastly, be sure that you review your will periodically and make sure that you are still happy with your choice of guardian. Be sure to check in with them as well to be absolutely positive that they are still willing and able to assume the responsibility should they need to. It will give you peace of mind that your children will be well cared for and loved should anything happen to their parents.
Nothing herein constitutes a legal opinion
Maranda and her partners joined together for a special holiday celebration at Meijer for foster & refugee families with Bethany Christian Services. WOTV 4 Women along with Bethany Christian Services, Craig's Cruisers, Meijer, Fifth-Third Bank & Priority Health & other partners spent the night meeting these special families during a taping of Maranda Where You Live. The night was filled with food, entertainment and shopping with these special families.
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