Guardians for Your Children

Guardians for Your Children

By: Martin M. Shenkman, CPA, MBA, JD

It's tough enough to name a guardian for your children in your will, but what if your trust is misplaced? Everyone worries about who will be raising their children. What if the guardian develops a drug or drinking habit? What if he fails to care adequately for your children? How can you be sure that the person you trust now will be the same person you trust when you really need him?

Most people set up trusts for minor children in their wills. They want to be sure that if they die, at least they will know that their children will be financially secure, at least until the point where they can become financially independent. Name a trustee independent of the guardian, that way you ensure that the guardian cares for your children for their sake, rather than for the sake of the money. Consider requiring that the trustee pay for a social worker to interview the children at the guardian's home where they live, say every quarter or half year, to keep tabs on the situation and the well being of your heirs. This could provide invaluable information to the trustee, and an independent safeguard for your children.

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