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Guardianship Declaration

Guardianship Declaration for Children: Declaration of Appointment of Guardian for My Children in the Event of My Death

What is a Guardianship Declaration?

For many, the designation of a guardian for your children who are younger than eighteen may be the most important component of estate planning.  This appointment may be placed in your will, or it may exist in an entirely separate document which may be called a declaration of appointment of guardian for my children in the event of my death, or a guardianship declaration for children.
If you have younger kids, it makes sense to use a separate document.  In my practice, Iíve noticed that clients with younger children request a change in the designated guardian much more often than revising other parts of their wills. Circumstances and relationships with family or friends change often, and job transfers also impact guardianship declarations.

However, you may always choose to insert this designation in your wills.  For years, attorneys inserted this information in wills and you  may always decide that this is the appropriate place.

How should I decide on a Guardianship Declaration?

But Iíve also learned that many couples have the most difficult time making this very important decision.  In fact, many clients "freeze" on this issue and never go forward on any estate planning, period.  My counsel: proceed on everything you agree on (for example, the wills, the durable powers of attorney, the medical powers of attorney, etc.), sign the documents in this phase of your estate planning, and then continue to work on a resolution of the designated guardian for your children.  You may always execute at a later date the guardianship declaration for your children.  But do not place a "hold" on obtaining the remainder of your estate planning document while you work through this challenge.  Iíve seen too many instances where couples simply could not agree on guardians for their children.  If a tragedy occurs during this interim period, your best intentions cannot be probated . . .

I regularly assist clients in the preparation of declarations of appointments of guardians for children in the event of death, or  guardianship declarations for children, and other estate planning documents.

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