May 1, 2010

The Importance Of Naming A Guardian Of Minor Children In A Will

What steps do I need to take to appoint my good friend as the Guardian of my four children in the event my husband and I die. She loves children and has five children of her own.  Sincerely; Planning Ahead

It is important that parents with minor children under 18 include in their Wills the appointment of a person or persons to be the Guardian of their children in the event of their deaths. This is because under Maryland law, if a parent appoints someone to be the Guardian of their minor children, that person does not need to be approved by any court, unless of course, someone objects to that appointment.

Accordingly, you are wise in planning ahead to make such an appointment in your Will. However, it is equally important for you to obtain the prior consent of your friend to serve as Guardian of your children before you designate her as such in your Will. This is because if a Guardian is needed and she voices anyobjection to serving, and you have not designated a willing successor Guardian, the court will appoint a guardian for your children for you.

Therefore, the first step you should take is to discuss guardianship of your children with your friend. Just because she loves children does not mean that she is willing to assume the parental role for nine minor children, especially children in their teenage years. You should also obtain a commitment from your friend's husband as well because he would also bear some of the responsibility for your children's upbringing.

Published in the Spring, 2011 issue of OutLook By The Bay magazine. (May 1, 2010)