New parents have a lot on their minds. Between 2:00 a.m. feedings and baby proofing, most parents have not even begun to think about making a will. This is a grave mistake. Having a valid will is one of the most important things you can do for your child.
Although wills can designate who will inherit your bank accounts, real property and jewelry, more importantly, they designate a legal guardian for your children. All children under the age of 18 require a legal guardian. While parents are still living they enjoy this role. However, when parents die leaving minor children a court must decide who will be appointed legal guardian. If you have a will, you can designate who this person will be. If you do not have a will, the courts will decide for you.
Designating a guardian for your children is probably one of the toughest issues parents face. Should it be grandma? Or your best friend? Or your sister who lives 3,000 miles away? Every family is different and every child is different. In one family it may be grandma who is best suited for this role. In another it may be a friend and not a family member at all who is the best person to care for your children. Once you have decided who the individual is you must put it in writing in your will.
We recommend you seek the advice and counsel of experienced estate planning attorneys to help you create your will. If this is not an option for you, make sure your will is valid and contains all the important provisions.