There are many things to consider when estate planning for children. If you predecease your spouse, he or she will have custody of your children. You should also consider the possibility that you may die concurrently and provide a plan for that eventuality in a will. For example, what if you both die in a car accident? You will want to designate a physical guardian for the child. There are many factors in choosing the right person. Who will provide the best care? If your assets are not sufficient to support children until their emancipation, will the guardian be able to do so? Accordingly, what financial provisions should you make for the children in your will?
You should consult with your proposed guardian to make sure that he or she is willing to serve. You should also name an alternate guardian in the event that the first predeceases you or his or her circumstances change. You should also designate a property guardian, who may be the same person. Children under age 18 can not legally own more than a minimal amount of property. If the physical guardian lacks the ability to effectively manage funds, this is when you might choose a different person to manage the child’s funds. This kind of arrangement can cause friction, but in some cases is the best course of action. A bank can also manage the child’s funds though they often charge substantial fees to do so.
It is almost impossible for a custodial parent to deny a noncustodial parent custody of their child if the custodial parent should pass even when the parents are divorced. There are some exceptions such as if the surviving parent is in jail or has been found incompetent by a court. Consult with an experienced attorney for your estate planning needs.