I was visiting Alexander today with a friend and we got to talking about Wills. She said that she did NOT have one. I was not actually surprised, because I know many people that don’t have them. She also said that she has not formally named a guardian for her children. That did surprise me! These are two things that I think are VERY important to have in life! EVERYONE needs to have a will – yes EVERYONE, I don’t just mean those that have money, kids, property. Everyone should have a will – even just a basic one. if you go through a lawyer, it can add up, but you can create a very simple on on your own. Check this site for some help:
Before I was married I had a will drawn up. We adjusted it when we got married, and then again when Alexander was born. When speaking about Alexander, the lawyer had us word it “Alexander and any other children”, that way, if we had another child, and something happened to us before we had a chance to update the will, that child would be provided for.
It is important to have a will so that your wishes will be known for what will be done with your assests – even if you don’t have a lot of them! As for naming a guardian for your children, this is also very important! Let’s say, you just assume your brother will take them. Well, what if I was to come along and say “well, she and I were having coffee one day, and she said that I would be the one she would want to raise the children if she died”. If it isn’t in writing and set up in a legal way, who is to say I am not telling the truth?
I did a search for information in Massachusetts, and this is what I found on one site: http://fieldsdennis.com/guardianship-law
Guardianship for Children: Massachusetts guardianship law allows a parent or parents to nominate a person to take care and custody of a child in the event of death or incapacity. Under Massachusetts law, the courts give great consideration to a guardian nominated by a parent. A nomination must be written and signed by the parent. Generally, in Massachusetts, a nomination of a legal guardian is included in the provisions of a Last Will and Testament.
When no nomination exists, a judge must decide who your children will go to. Without any written nomination of a parent, the court will be left with little direct evidence of who the parent would have wanted to love, support, and raise the child.
Massachusetts guardianships fall into two categories: person guardianship and estate guardianship. A person guardianship allows a court-appointed guardian to make decisions on a minor’s behalf, just as a parent would. In other words, a guardianship of the person gives a guardian general custody of a child and all the decisions that accompany such a position, except for any financial decisions. Alternatively, a guardianship of the estate gives a court-appointed guardian the ability to make any financial decisions on behalf of the minor child, as well as manage any money the child may have in his or her name.
Do you really want this left up to a judge?? Wouldn’t you rather have that taken care of so your children will be with who YOU want!
I think you should also have a Living Will or some sort of advanced directive with information of your wishes should you be incapacitated in some way. When I was working we would have patients fill out a form that would appoint someone to make medical decisions for them if need be. I had a patient say to me once “oh, I will fill that out when I need it”. Ummm…yeah, that is kind of the point, you won’t be ABLE to fill it out when you need it! There are so many rules in the hospital these days about who can know what and who nurses/doctors can or can not talk to. It is important to have things in place BEFORE you need them!
Okay – that is my rant for the day. Next PSA will be on Insurance!