Answers from Our McKinney Lawyers
Although it seems simple on the surface, choosing a guardian for your minor children is one of the most challenging aspects of creating a will or estate plan. To help you through the process, our McKinney estate planning lawyers have created this guide which addresses some of the most common questions we receive during the will creation process. For more information about guardianships, or for assistance with creating a will, contact our firm today!
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What if My First Choice Is Older Than I Am?
If your first choice is significantly older than you, you may be concerned about their ability to provide long term care. However, it’s best to choose a guardian you’re comfortable with now, and reevaluate your choice in four or five years.
What if My Children Don’t Like My Choice?
You’ll want to discuss your choice with your children, especially if they are in their early teens. Do what you think is best for their future, but keep in mind that a judge will factor the child’s wishes into the final ruling.
What if My Family Doesn’t Like My Choice?
In some cases, choosing one family member as a guardian can create some resentment or animosity amongst other family members. However, your primary responsibility is to your children, so it’s important to pick the guardian you think is best. Creating a written explanation of your reasoning can help your family and the courts understand why you made that choice.
What if My First Choice Is Bad With Money?
Fiscal responsibility is not always a sign that someone will be a good guardian for your children. In Texas, you have the ability to name a property guardian or custodian of the inheritance you leave the children. In many cases, the two guardians are the same person, but in some cases it may be best to split the responsibilities.
What if I Don’t Like My First Choice’s Spouse?
You don’t have to name a couple as a guardian, just an individual. While you can’t prevent the spouse from being present if they are still married, they will have no legal authority over your children. If the couple gets divorced, your first choice can still be the guardian of your children.
What if My First Choice Doesn’t Live Close?
You can nominate anyone you want as a guardian, no matter what state you live in. However, situations with out-of-state guardians can be significantly more complicated and expensive. Again, the best course of action is what’s best for your child – however, it can be beneficial to name a temporary guardian who can care for the children locally until the permanent guardian situation is resolved.
What About Children From Prior Marriages?
You’ll need to think about the needs of each child individually. In many cases, it’s best to name a different guardian for children of different marriages unless they already live together. Every situation is unique, so it’s important to consider the needs and wants of your children.
Can My Ex-Spouse Get Custody of My Kids?
Unless your ex is clearly unfit to care for your children, they will most likely receive custody. However, you can absolutely include information in your will about why you think they are unfit, and judges will generally take this under serious consideration. This is particularly effective if you can include police reports, court records, or any other evidence that suggests they are unfit.
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