Back to School: Emergency Contacts Lead to Thoughts of Guardianship

August is upon us, the summer is drawing to a close, and the school year is about to begin. For many parents this means it’s time to fill out the beginning of school paperwork again: health, release, and emergency contact forms. Although many parents look upon these forms as a time-consuming necessary evil, they can actually provide a good opportunity to think about guardianship. Of all the people in your life, who would you trust to care for your kids when you are gone?

Although naming a guardian for your minor children is one of the most important estate planning tasks out there, it is also one of the most difficult and emotional. Just letting your mind brush up against your own mortality and the thought that your young children may have to face the world without you is enough to bring tears to the eyes of any parent. So it’s no wonder parents shy away from the heart wrenching task. But if the idea of your kids growing up without you is a difficult thought, try to imagine them growing up in the hands of a court-appointed guardian rather than your own friends or family—that is the frightening thought that could become reality if you don’t name a guardian yourself.

If you are reluctant to think about guardianship at this time, this article in The Wall Street Journal may provide some encouragement. But the most important thing to remember is that you don’t have to do it alone. Your estate planning attorney is there to help you through the process. At our office we understand how difficult choosing a guardian can be, and our goal is to guide you through it with compassion and understanding. The nomination of guardian is the one document you hope never has to be used—but that you absolutely don’t want to be without.