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Parents can make mistakes naming a guardian for their kids

| Apr 14, 2021 | Estate Planning

One thing that Maryland parents might not want to think about is what would happen to their children if both of them suddenly became unable to take care of them.

Still, many if not most parents in Prince George’s County would not want to leave the fate of their kids in the hands of a court or of the state’s child welfare officials. That being said, parents have to take the right steps to providing for a guardian for their children before the children need one.

The biggest mistake parents can make is just not naming a guardian at all or not doing so through the formal channels.

Courts cannot guess what parents would have wanted for their kids. Informal wishes, like conversations and the like, are just not enough for a court to act on, especially when there is a dispute.

Naming a guardian requires attention to details

Parents also should consider their choice for guardian carefully and may want to have the help of an experienced attorney when doing so.

For example, they may want to name one person as the legal guardian of their children, thus giving him or her responsibility for the children’s upbringing, but give another person or even institution the power to act as conservator of the children’s property.

Moreover, parents should take the time in their wills or other estate planning documents to name backup guardians in case their first choice is unwilling or unable to serve.

Likewise, they should provide for a temporary guardian to step in should there be an emergency, like a serious accident, that requires an immediate response from a responsible adult.

Finally, parents should be sure that they have also taken the right steps to be certain that someone they do not feel is up to the task will not wind up being their children’s guardian.

 

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