Guardianship: Who will get your children if you die?

Not even our El Paso readers like to think about dying, but it will sooner or later happen. The question is “when” and few of us can predict that. Therefore, like insurance, we should take care of preparing for our loved ones in the event it happens.

If you have a will or an estate plan, you are ahead of the game. If you don’t, you may be wondering why you need one. Let’s start with the most important reason.

What’s going to happen to your children? Who will get guardianship over them? If you do not designate a legal guardian, a probate judge may be deciding the fate of your children as well as what assets they get. A will allows you to designate a guardian of your choice.

It also, of course, allows you to decide how you would like your estate or assets divided. You may have treasured items that you would like a specific family member to have. If you don’t do your estate planning now, an outside party will do it for you.

Preparing a will or trust makes you take inventory of your assets. You can select who you want to handle your finances, investments and other important matters. Designate your beneficiaries.

Select an executor of your will. Someone will need to handle the distribution of your assets. You will want to choose someone who is not only trustworthy but also responsible and organized.

What if something happens to you where you become incapacitated? You may want to assign a power of attorney, where someone can handle your financial decisions in case you are unable. You can designate when they can or cannot use the power of attorney.

A living will, or advance medical directive, allows you a say in your medical care. In a living will, you can make all of your health care decisions while you are able. In case you are not able, you will have a written directive of your decisions. This is a good safeguard in the event that you are in a serious accident and are unable to voice your decisions., “Estate Planning: Get Ahead” No author given, May. 30, 2014