Celebrity deaths often highlight various estate planning issues as prior posts have discussed. Michael Jackson’s death brought public awareness to issues about choosing your executor and trustees, pour over wills, and guardianship. You may recall that Michael Jackson named his mother as guardian of his children. His second choice was Diana Ross. If Michael Jackson’s mother had predeceased him, would he still have wanted Diana Ross to raise his kids, rather than a family member? We’ll never know.
The lesson to be learned is first of all, to name someone you believe will be the right person to raise your children. Do they share your values? Are they stable individuals who will likely be able to provide the necessaries of life? Do they have any medical issues? What if you chose a couple and they get a divorce?
It is important to review your guardian nominations from time to time. As time passes, circumstances and people change. People you choose early in your childrens’ lives may not be the ones you would choose for teenagers. Maybe you named your parent and that parent is now too old to raise your children. Maybe the original guardians have moved away and you want someone local to raise your children. Maybe you have siblings you are close to now and they would be a good choice to raise their nieces and nephews.
The New Year is a good time to review your estate plan to be sure it is up to date, including the nominations of guardians. It is a good idea while you are at it, to also review other aspects of your estate plan. Are the ages that you want distributions to your children still what you want? Do you want to add provisions to your trust about distributions for college, buying a house, or having a child? Do you need to add spendthrift provisions or substance abuse provisions for a particular child?
Call us at Law Office of Scott C. Soady, A Professional Corporation to set an appointment to review your estate plan.