The Importance of a Last Will and Testament for Child Custody

Parents of young kids or teenagers that are facing terminal illnesses or other end-of-life situations are up against a myriad of troubling issues. How can you let your doctors know about your medical decisions if you are unable to express your needs or wants? What will happen to your children if you are unable to care for them or die? Both of these concerns can be taken care of by using specific types of legal documents, including a living will and a last will and testament. It’s critical to contact lawyers to provide you with further advice on how to use these different documents.

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What is a Living Will?

A living will is a legal document that enables a person to explain their wishes regarding medical procedures they want or do not want in the event that their health becomes critical. It comes into play when an individual cannot voice their own wishes.

They may be in an irreversible coma or suffering from a life-threatening disease. The person may no longer be lucid enough to express the steps they want, or do not, want to take to preserve their life. This document is designed to deal with how you feel about life-ending versus life-sustaining procedures. It may also address issues such as organ donation and palliative care.

It is important to always hire a lawyer to help you with your living will. As James H. Arenson of Arenson Law, a team of Cedar Rapids living will lawyers, explains, “It is important to hire an estate lawyer because if you make a mistake during the draft, the document may not be legally binding, rendering it useless.”

What is a Last Will and Testament?

A last will and testament is a document that takes effect after your death. While people typically utilize these legal documents to distribute their property and possessions to new owners after death, a last will and testament can also include specific provisions that apply to a person’s minor children. Parents will include a guardian clause in their will. This clause will name a person whom the parents want to look after their young children after they die. 

A court must approve the deceased parent’s choice in their last will and testament. Some states enable parents to create a separate legal document naming a guardian so that they can provide for care of the child even if they do not have a will to address the distribution of their estate. In either case, courts will almost always honor the deceased parent’s final wishes in appointing a guardian, unless the person they picked is grossly unfit.

Whether you’re a stay at home mom or a successful business professional, it is vital to have a will to ensure your children are safe and secure if you die. If you do not leave a will, your child’s welfare will be decided by the court.

How to Create a Last Will and Testament

If you’re a parent facing a terminal disease, you need to have a last will and testament. To create this legal document, you should firstly choose a worthy guardian for your child. They will be responsible for the daily care of your kid, including their health, education, and welfare, as well as have legal responsibility over the child’s wellbeing until he or she is 18 years of age. To pay for the care, the deceased parents typically use funds from their estate to cover it as a guardian is not responsible to meet the child’s financial needs with their own money.

The person you choose as the legal guardian of your child in the event of your death must have good parenting skills and values similar to your own. Family members or trusted, long-term friends are both good options.

Ask their permission. Ensure they are comfortable with the decision to raise your child.

Record your wishes. Be as specific as possible. This includes clearly stating the names of the individuals who you want to have custody of your children.

Be sure to sign the will in the presence of witnesses that you trust. Your state law will vary when it comes to how many witnesses are required to be present.

It is imperative to have a living will and testament in case you die. Your child will be protected and raised by a guardian who has similar values to your own. This will ensure that your child remains happy and healthy even though you are not around to protect them anymore.

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