One of the most important choices in your will is that of a guardian for your minor children. All parents need an up-to-date will because a will uniquely allows you to name a guardian for your minor children in both North and South Carolina.
DON'T LEAVE THIS IMPORTANT DECISION UP TO A COURT!
If you don't have a will and have minor children, a court will make the choice of a guardian for you and you will have no say in the matter.
HOW TO CHOOSE A GUARDIAN
Choosing a guardian in your will can be tough. Even under the best circumstances, parents may struggle with the choice. Family dynamics can make it even harder. Parents frequently look to their own parents, the grandparents, as the first choice to raise a minor child if both parents are gone. One aspect of this choice is a couple may have to choose between competing sets of grandparents. How do you explain to one set of adoring grandparents that the other set of grandparents was chosen over them? Will your choice create hurt feelings? Should hurt feelings even be a factor in your decision-making or should the decision be strictly about the best interest of the children? Are your parents physically up to caring for your children or should you choose someone younger like a brother or sister? My recommendation is to always choose what's best for the children and to deal with the potential fallout from hurt feelings by being upfront about your reasoning. All sorts of factors may play a role in your decision, even the location of the brother or sister or grandparents. Explaining the factors to your family may prevent hurt feelings later.
ADAM YAUCH'S SOLUTION
Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys and his wife Dechen found their own solution. When he died in 2012, Yauch's will provided if he and his wife both died in an even year, his parents would raise his daughter. If they died in an odd year, his wife's parents would be the guardians. His solution may or not be your solution. The important thing is - Yauch took the time to put a plan in place for his daughter. All parents should do the same.
For more great information about protecting your loved ones with peace of mind estate planning, take a look at our valuable estate planning book and articles. Our materials are full of tips and advice. All materials are written by us and provide detailed North and South Carolina specific information designed to help anyone with estate planning questions. You can download your free copy of our book here.