Do Not Wait To Name Guardians For Your Children

The recent article “Have You Named a Legal Guardian for Your Kids?” in the New York Times is thought-provoking and excellent. I will send this article to all of my new clients, as I believe it will help them to think deeply about who should care for their children if they are unable to, what that care should look like and how it should be paid for. I always believe the purpose of a good personalized estate plan is to preserve family harmony. Avoiding instability and chaos for minor children is critical.

This article refers heavily to naming guardians in a will. I do not do this. In California, a will is lodged with the court on death and becomes a public document. I prefer to preserve the privacy of both the children and their guardians. Instead, I prepare a “Nomination of Guardians”, which lists interim guardians (trusted people who live near you who can and will take care of your children until their permanent guardian can arrive), permanent and backup guardians, and information on how you would like your children to be raised. What are your preferences for religion, education, firearms, mental health, social media, maintaining relationships and spending time with other family members and close friends, and so much more.

Published in AAC