Custodial grandparents should appoint guardian in their will

More and more grandparents in Lee County these days are taking on the role of primary caretaker for their grandchildren. Many probably never dreamed that they would be doing so, and are faced with a variety of challenges that include changes in retirement plans, finances and health. Raising a child is certainly not for the faint of heart, but grandparents can gain a real sense of pride as their grandchild grows up under their care.

One thing that should be addressed when taking on the role of caregiver for grandchildren is what will happen to the child if the grandparents should die before the child reaches the age of 18? Who will care for the child? This is where a pre-need guardianship for minors comes in. A guardianship defines who will care for the child after the grandparents die or are no longer able to care for him or her. If a guardian is not chosen, the child could potentially end up in the care of someone the grandparents do not trust or may even be handed over to the state.

A 60-year-old grandmother recently was awarded custody of her 3-year-old grandson. A financial planner has advised her that although she has a lot to think about in terms of figuring out how she is going to provide for the child, the first and most important thing she needs to do is find an estate planning attorney to help her draw up a will that states who she would like to be appointed guardian should she die before the child reaches adulthood. This is especially important because the woman’s husband died years ago; thus she is the child’s only guardian. Doing this can give her peace of mind knowing that the child will be properly cared for by someone she trusts.

Source: New, “Get With The Plan: New custody of grandson complicates financial planning for grandmother,” Karin Price Mueller, July 14, 2013

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