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What keeps young parents up at night

Posted by Saidin M. Hernandez | Mar 01, 2023 | 0 Comments

Now you probably think I'm talking about a newborn's wailing in the middle of the night. However, my post this morning is about the preoccupation young parents have about what would happen to their children if they were both to die. It is usually a struggle for anyone to decide on who would be the best person to look after their child. Who would be the most responsible? What about the money, upbringing, proper education, etc.

My wife and I have discussed this very topic on multiple occasions and every single time new variables come up. Let's just say it is a constantly evolving list of priorities.

The truth is, there is no right or wrong answer and no silver bullet or shortcut. However, it is imperative that this is discussed and put to writing, and please don't leave it for the day before taking that first trip as a couple sans child. The whole trip will be less enjoyable (trust me on this one).

Here are some tips on how to start the arduous task:

  • Determine your priorities and values i.e. education, religious upbringing, discipline, moral beliefs, etc. (This list can be endless sometimes)
  • Think about the physical location of the guardian. The child would most likely have to move adding anxiety to an already difficult situation.
  • Do you need to split the role of guardian? Someone to take care of raising the child and another person to handle the finances.
  • Consider the lifestyle of the proposed guardian. Do they work? How flexible is their schedule? Financial situation.
  • Consider asking the proposed guardian if they would be willing to serve. You might find out that they would not feel comfortable stepping in those shoes.

Once the individual(s) have been chosen, discuss with your estate planning attorney about drafting a will, and possibly a trust, depending on the circumstances. Having this document will save a lot of time, and avoid a lengthy process of determining the court appointed guardian. Judges will usually select an individual listed in the will as guardian (as long as they are not disqualified for some reason). This should also avoid family quarrels that may arise as to who would be the most qualified person to undertake this responsibility.

Be prepared for the fact that this document might need to be changed as the child grows. Your list of priorities will change over time and the list of possible guardians will need to be adjusted accordingly.

About the Author

Saidin M. Hernandez

Principal Attorney

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