It’s not fun to think about you and your spouse passing away while your child is still a minor, but it’s something you have to think about in order to provide the best possible life for that child. This is something that people often put off or avoid because it makes them feel uncomfortable, but that is no excuse; as a parent, planning ahead is your responsibility.

One thing to consider strongly is drafting a will that names a guardian. If you and your spouse pass away — in a car accident, for example — the guardian will then legally be given your child, along with all of the powers and rights that a parent would normally have. This includes things like the power to make medical decisions and to decide where the child is going to go to school.

Now, you may think that this is not necessary since you have other family members who would love to help out, such as siblings or even parents. However, your child will not automatically go to these family members. The law actually says that people who would like to become guardians can ask to be thus appointed and a judge is then given the power to make the choice if there is no will. It is all in the judge’s hands, not yours.

Allowing this to happen puts your child’s future in the balance. If you know who you want to take care of the child, you have to get it into your will, and it is never too early to act. Make sure that you know what you must do to legally appoint a guardian in New York.

Source: BabyCenter, “How to choose a guardian for your child” accessed Feb. 11, 2015