Estate Planning Basics: Choosing a Guardian for Your Children

Illinois guardianship attorneysNo parent wants to think about passing away before their children have grown, but tragedies happen every day. Sadly, if families are unprepared for such an issue, their children may be further traumatized by the events that occur after their loss. As such, all parents are encouraged to name a guardian for their child in a legally drafted will. Learn more about this process, including how to choose the right person for the job, with help from the following.

Guardianship is Not Automatic

Above all else, parents need to know that guardianship is not automatic after a tragedy. For example, you may assume that your parents would automatically receive your children if something happened to you, but this is not the case. Instead, anyone that is interested in custody of your children can come forward and request it. Then a judge must hear each person’s side and determine which home may be most appropriate.

The problem with this is that the judge may not choose the same guardian that you would have chosen. Also, children may be forced to spend time in a stranger’s home – perhaps even emergency foster care – until a determination can be made. Do not let this happen to your children! Instead, choose a guardian that fits your views, preferences, and your child’s needs.

Choosing the “Right” Guardian

Choosing the “right” guardian for your children may seem like a difficult task, but as a parent, you know what is best for your children. You also know the people closest to you – the ones that may be suitable guardians. Consider, first, which ones may be interested in serving as a guardian to your children. Then ask yourself some of the following questions:

  • Does the person in question have a parenting style that closely mimics yours?
  • Are the person’s religious beliefs or core values similar to yours?
  • Is the person mentally, financially, and emotionally capable of caring for your children?
  • Does your child feel comfortable with the person?
  • Would your child have to move far away to live with that person, and would it cause additional trauma for your child?
  • Does the potential guardian have children of their own, and would it present a problem?
  • Would the person in question have the time and energy to devote to your child?

If, after considering all aspects, you believe you have a suitable guardian, consider also choosing a secondary guardian, just in case something should happen (i.e. death, disability, etc.) that might prevent your primary guardian from taking your children. Then contact an experienced lawyer to ensure you have considered all aspects of your guardianship plan.

Contact Our DuPage County Will and Guardianship Attorneys

At Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath, LLC, we are sensitive to the struggles parents face when deciding on a guardian for their child. Dedicated and experienced, we can examine your family’s needs and situation and explain your options. At every turn, we strive to protect the interest of you and your children. Learn more about how our DuPage County will and guardianship lawyers can assist with your estate planning needs by scheduling a personalized consultation. Call our offices at 630-665-2500 today.

Source:

https://www.babycenter.com/0_how-to-choose-a-guardian-for-your-child_1286759.bc

Special Needs Trusts: Securing the Future of a Special Needs Child

special needs trusts, Wheaton estate planning attorneysAccording to the 2010 U.S. Census Bureau, Americans with Disabilities Report, nearly one in five families are caring for a family member with a disability. Equating to about 56.7 million people, or 19 percent of the total population, the U.S. has witnessed an increase in those with qualifying disabilities by 2.2 million citizens. Not only has the number of those with disabilities risen, but the number and percentage of those requiring assistance has also increased.

The report also relates that four in 10 individuals with a disability, ages 21 to 64, often find themselves unemployed and facing persistent poverty levels as the ability to obtain viable employment opportunities may be out of reach.

As reported, one in every 26 American families are facing the challenges of raising a child with special needs, and 69 percent of those caring for a child report that they are concerned about providing lifetime care for their dependents with special needs.

With data derived from a recent MetLife Survey, “The Torn Security Blanket: Children with Special Needs and the Planning Gap,” it is apparent that preparation for future needs is somewhat lacking as disabled children grown into disabled adults. The report found the following statistical information:

  • 88 percent of parents have yet to draft a trust to preserve supplemental benefits;
  • 84 percent are without a letter of intent, outlining a child’s future health directives;
  • 26 percent of parents have not created a special needs trust;
  • 76 percent have not identified or named a trustee; and
  • 49 percent have not identified or appointed a legal guardian.

Often, time is not on their side, as 32 percent of all parents caring for a special needs or disabled child often spend more than 40 hours per week ensuring that the child’s needs are met and further compounded by 59 percent of parents claiming unfamiliarity with their legal options.

At the Illinois law office of Stock, Carlson, Flynn & McGrath, LLC, our experienced Wheaton estate planning attorneys understand your time is limited. With over 30 years of special needs trust experience, we can advise you on the many different types of trusts that may best suit your dependent’s needs as well addressing guardianship directives. Contact our legal team at 630-665-2500 to schedule your options today.