Questionnaire Tips Series: What Will Happen to my Children?

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A common question couples ask during an initial consultation is what will happen to our children if we both decease?

If both parents decease the children will be taken care of by the guardian(s) you appoint in your Estate Plan. If you do not name a legal guardian during your lifetime and both parents are deceases,  then your child’s custody will be determined by Probate during a Guardianship hearing. Grandparents, nor an aunt, uncle or older sibling automatically become appointed guardians of a child. The judge will decide who is the best person for the role based on evidence provided during a hearing. The Guardian appointed by the courts might not be your choice or the person who you would prefer to care for your children. You might have a preference to have your children with your family abroad or have chosen a different relative or family friend to care for your children based on your values. If there is no family to take immediate action your child could be placed in the Foster Care System and await hearing before being appointed a Guardian. 

To avoid the probate process and  have control of who your child will be cared by it is strongly recommended you create an Estate Plan. One of the many reasons for having a Will and Trust is to plan and provide for the secure future of your children.

In your questionnaire you will see a dedicated space for you to appoint Guardians for your minor children.  The Permanent Guardian can be far away but in the interim appoint a Temporary Guardian locally so they can take immediate custody of the kids without them going to foster care.You may appoint a person or a couple to be Guardians.  If you have another child or want to change who would have guardianship of any of them we can update this information in your Estate Plan at any time. 


  • Think about naming more than one guardian in case your original choice is incapable of taking on the responsibility for any reason.
  • The person(s) can be local or far away, as long as you appoint someone whom you trust to care for your children.
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