When you look into the statistics, you see that a majority of adults have not executed all of the necessary estate planning documents. While a significant percentage of older Americans are remiss, younger adults as a group are largely unprepared.
This is a mistake on a number of different levels. It can actually be argued that estate planning is more important for younger adults than it is for senior citizens. With this in mind, let’s look at the nomination of a guardian and why it is relevant to many young adults.
Young Families, Minor Children
Many young adults are married, and a lot of them have children. If you are a young parent who is married, what would happen to your family if you were to pass away? Clearly there would be emotional devastation, but where would they stand financially?
If a parent who is a senior citizen dies, this individual is very likely to be leaving behind middle-aged children. They can take care of themselves. Things are different for parents of minor children. This is why you could logically suggest that estate planning is even more important for younger people.
From a financial perspective, making sure that your family is provided for would typically involve the purchase of life insurance. Children cannot directly handle insurance proceeds, but you can create a testamentary trust to capture the proceeds until the children reach the age of majority.
Nomination of a Guardian
When you are executing a last will as someone who has young children, you should include the nomination of a guardian. If both parents pass away together at the same time, the court would use this nomination as a guide when it was appointing a guardian
The court is not absolutely compelled to appoint the person who has been nominated, but it is very likely that it will honor your choice. Ultimately the court must act in the best interests of the child or children in question. Due diligence is required. But if there is nothing in the background of the nominee to raise a red flag, the court is probably going to concur with the nomination.
People do sometimes pass away simultaneously in accidents. It may be rare, but when the well-being of your children is at stake, you should certainly prepare for any and all possibilities.
There are also many single parents out there. Single parents are at a greater risk as individuals die every day due to catastrophic illnesses and accidents of various kinds.
If you are a single parent of a minor child or children, you should absolutely have a last will in place that includes the nomination of a guardian.
Parman & Easterday