Myths Vs. Reality – Appointing Guardians For Minors

As it happens, young parents would rather talk about pretty much any other part of their personal life than answer one all important question. But when they finally do start talking about who would care for their children if they were to die prematurely, almost everyone has the same misconceptions about the process. In fact, most folks are letting four major myths hold them back from getting the job done and protecting their kid in case the worst happens.

My biggest frustration as an estate planning attorney is the fact that too many young parents fail to plan with heartbreaking consequences when the unexpected happens and they die before getting the chance to raise their minor children.  While I understand that the subject of death can be a pretty off-putting subject for many people, in trying to reach out to young parents, I find, more often than I would like to admit, that I fail to share the sense of urgency I feel: every good parent has a reason to nail down the issue of guardianship for their minor children.

To that end, Jacoba Urist at the Huffington Post recently put together the four dangerous myths about choosing a guardian:

  1. The myth of the perfect match. What would the perfect match look like? Someone just like you, presumably (and you personally, in a perfect world.) Nevertheless, it’s a convenient myth for putting off any decision and getting any planning done. Remember: You can always name a new guardian as your child grows or as circumstances change.
  2. The myth that someone will step up and solve the issue anyway. While it may be true that your family members will swoop in, that doesn’t mean they will all agree on who ought to do so (or that the family members you would want to will even be able). It can mean a family fight and, in that case, the one who actually chooses is the judge.
  3. The myth that you can just leave a letter hidden somewhere. Many parents write a letter asking a loved one to become guardian and then tuck it away so that it can be found if the need should arise. Although that’s better than nothing, it’s not legally binding.
  4. The myth that you don’t have to ask. If you don’t ask you’ll never know how your guardian feels about your decision. Deciding this issue in advance can help your family and your children in a difficult time.

Take a look at the original article here, and maybe consider if you’re holding yourself back from making a decision. Often, proper planning begins in one place and spreads out into an entire plan, so perhaps this is how you come to find your plans and your priorities.  On a happier note, I can report that not all of my younger clients have ignored my good advice, I am putting the finishing touches on my niece's estate plan, who, though just 30 something, has two toddlers and wanted to make sure they were protect if the unexpected were to occur. 

You can learn more about estate and elder law planning on our website. Be sure to sign up for our free e-newsletter to stay abreast of issues like these that could affect you, your loved ones and your estate planning.

Reference:  The Huffington Post (October 24, 2011) “4 Dangerous Myths About Choosing a Guardian”

Like this article?

Share on facebook
Share on Facebook
Share on twitter
Share on Twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on Linkdin
Share on pinterest
Share on Pinterest

Leave a comment


We have a LOT more where that came from!

We hate spam too. We will never share or sell your information.

Call Now ButtonCall Us Now https://jsfiddle.net/7h5246b8/

Request a free consultation

We hate spam too. We will never share or sell your information.

We've been putting together as many resources as possible so that we can continue to help:

  • If you’re a current client with a signing appointment or a prospective client with a consultation and would prefer that meeting take place in your own home, we can accomplish that with a little bit of pre-planning on our part and with the addition of a laptop, smartphone, tablet or other computer in your home to facilitate this virtual meeting. For those of you that need to sign legal documents, that too can be accomplished with the use of a webcam (FaceTime etc.), so that we can witness and electronically notarize all of your important legal documents.
  • We launched the rollout of our on-demand webinar early so that new clients and our allied professionals can view the important component parts of ‘an estate plan that works’ at their convenience.  That is available on our website.
  • Live video workshops will be produced as quickly as possible and certainly ahead of our previous schedule; we will keep you posted as these events become available. Given the ‘boutique’ nature of the firm, we rarely have more than ten people in our office including team members at any one time. During this period of ‘social distancing,’ we promise to have no more than 8 people at any time.   This allows us to comply with the Governor’s directive to limit in-person gatherings.
  • The best way to communicate with us is still by phone during regular office hours of 8:30 to 5:00, Monday through Friday, or, you can email any of our team members (that is, their first name followed by @zarembalaw.com).  We will respond to these emails as quickly as possible.
  • Please continue to follow the directives of our local, state, and federal agencies. For your health and in consideration of our team who is assisting you, if you’ve scheduled an office appointment or planned to drop off paperwork and are experiencing a fever, dry cough, or shortness of breath, please contact your primary care doctor for guidance and then our office to reschedule.

Thank you, Walt and the Zaremba Team

Update to our Process

The unprecedented coronavirus pandemic has taken our entire country by surprise. We understand how difficult this time is for America’s businesses and families.  However, we believe it is vitally important that we make every effort possible to continue to offer solutions that avoid disrupting our important partnership with you, your family and friends.  As you know, estate planning is not something that should wait for a more convenient time, therefore the opportunity to address your important goals both during and after this crisis should not wait.  To that end, we have added the option of a ‘virtual consultation’ to our office process.  You will now have a choice of either meeting with us in our office or in the comfort of your own home.