Planning for Children
Who decides guardianship for my children if I die without a will?
As a parent, you can name a guardian for your children in your will. Even though a court will still need to approve your choice, your wishes would typically be followed, particularly if there is no conflict in guardianship with another legal parent.
When parents don’t leave a will, the court will decide on a guardian for you, using a “best interest of the child” standard. Because the court’s choice may not be your choice, your best chance for making sure that your wishes will be followed is to name a guardian for your children in a properly constructed and executed will.
In addition to choosing your children’s guardian, you can make sure that your children will be properly taken care of financially by using estate planning tools such as trusts to benefit your children.