This may be one of the most important elements of an estate plan for people with young children. Deciding who will take care of them if you are not able to do so is an important decision, and one that should not be left to chance.
Of course, the parents of the children are the initial guardians for the children. If one parent dies, and in the absence of some kind of order to the contrary, the other parent legally assumes full guardianship of the children. No papers are necessary for this to happen. However, if both parents are gone, who then?
The Courts usually look to grandparents as guardians of minor children. However, you may not want your parents to raise your children; you may have other people in mind (perhaps with children of their own); and in the modern era with parents starting families at a later age, grandparents may simply be too old and infirm to handle children.
The usual place to nominate a guardian is in your will, and nominating a guardian (along with successor/back-ups) for your minor children is part of any will I prepare. However, it is also possible to execute a stand-alone document that only deals with nominating a guardian. I can help you with whichever works best in your situation.
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