Brian and Sarah came into our office for a trust. They wanted to make sure their children were raised according to their wishes if they both died. So they selected their friends Meghan and Jeff as the Guardians.
I asked them what I always ask, "do you really want both of them or just one of them." They looked at each other and said, well, we really only want Meghan. Jeff is nice, but without Meghan, the kids would have no structure.
As part of my estate planning practice, I meet with parents who want to make sure their kids are raised by people they trust in case they both die. Many want to ensure their kids go to college or participate in sports or attend their church. They name people they trust to carry out their wishes.
I also review documents that other lawyers have created or that the parents have written themselves. A common mistake that I see is when the parents have named a couple to act as guardians when they really only want the wife in the couple (or the husband) to be the guardian. So, I always ask "what do you want to happen if the couple gets divorced or if one of them dies or if they both die?"
So, if you name Meghan and Jeff, but you really only want Meghan, be sure your trust says that. If Meghan dies, who do you want?
If you do want Meghan and Jeff, if they both die, who will be the guardians? If they divorce, who do you want to raise your kids?
Be sure your Trust addresses these issues.
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