The Importance of Having a Will that Provides for Minor Guardianship

Web Admin - Saturday, November 28, 2020

Kenilworth estate planning attorneyAlthough you may not think you need it, an estate plan can provide peace of mind and the assurance that your family will be taken care of after your death. Documenting your wishes ahead of time eliminates uncertainty and disputes, while maximizing the value of your estate when it is distributed among your beneficiaries. This is especially if you have children or other family members who rely on you for support. An experienced estate planning attorney can assist you with creating a will and trust that is appropriate for you and your family, including guardianship of any minors. 

What Is a Last Will and Testament?

Every estate plan should include a will, which is also sometimes referred to as a last will and testament. This legally binding document clearly states a person’s intentions or wishes after his or her death. The issues covered usually include who will act as the executor and who will inherit the estate. Regarding the estate, it can outline what will happen to the decedent’s possessions, such as whether they will be left to another person, an organization, or donated to charity. In addition, a will states who will become the guardian of any minor children.

Legal Guardianship of a Minor

Generally, only a parent of a child has the authority to make decisions about the child’s care. Sometimes, a parent is unable or chooses not to make decisions regarding his or her child’s care. In these situations, a person who is not the parent can become the legal guardian of the child. Legal guardianship permits an individual who is not the parent to make care decisions for a child, just like a parent would. This can include important matters such as the child’s healthcare, living situation, and education. For example, a minor cannot make decisions regarding his or her own medical care or treatment, only an adult can. The person with authority to make care decisions is called the child’s guardian, and he or she does not have to be a relative of the child.

One of the main reasons it is vital to include decisions about the guardianship of a minor in a will is when a parent dies. If no one is designated or appointed to have the responsibility of handling the child’s affairs, the court will determine who receives that authority. In cases where there is one surviving parent but he or she is incapable of raising the child, a guardian may be appointed to ensure the safety and well-being of the minor. Including this important issue in a will allows the person drafting it to be in control of who takes on this important responsibility. It is crucial to consider both short- and long-term factors of the child’s welfare, and who is best-suited for that role. Then, discussions between both parties should take place related to the specific wishes related to raising the minor. A Memorandum of Wishes can be drafted to address any and all concerns. This can also safeguard against relatives fighting over who should care for the child, which can cause great anxiety and emotional turmoil for the child as well as other family members. 

Contact a South Barrington Estate Planning Lawyer

Guardianship of a minor is especially important to ensure the well-being of that child. That is why it should be an essential part of your estate plan. Including this designation can help prevent arguments and disputes among family members in the event of your death. At Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC, we are ready to put our proven methods to work for you and your family. Our accomplished Schaumburg estate planning attorneys will help you draft an estate plan that includes guardianship of a minor if necessary. To arrange a free consultation, call our office today at 847-934-8000.

About the Author: Attorney Jay Andrew is a founding partner of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC. He is a graduate of the University of Dayton School of Law and has been practicing in estate planning, probate, trust administration, real estate law, residential/ commercial leasing, contracts, and civil litigation. Since 2005, Jay has been a Chair of the Mock Trial Committee for the Annual Northwest Suburban Bar Association High School Mock Trial Invitation which serves over 240 local Illinois students each year.



A Will and Trusts Lesson from Some of the Greatest Music Legends

Web Admin - Wednesday, April 26, 2017
Illinois wills and trusts attorneysIf there is any one group of people who should have an estate plan in place, it is celebrities. Of course, like most people, celebrities become distracted with life or refuse to face the possibility of their own mortality. Should they continue to do so and pass away, their estate becomes at risk. Take, for example, the issues faced by the families of Bob Marley and Jimi Hendrix. Both were major music icons, both died without a will in place, and both left behind a frustrating mess.

Jimi Hendrix’s Estate

When Jimi Hendrix died in 1970, the entirety of his estate went to his father, Al Hendrix. When Al died in 2002, the estate then went to Al’s step-daughter, Janie Hendrix. Jimi’s brother, Leon, received nothing from the estate. Since then, the family has been in a long, grueling, and contentious family feud.

Some of the beneficiaries had asserted that Janie and Jimi had never had a close relationship and that she had no rights to the estate. There were also concerns over how she had managed the estate. At the end (2004), a judge determined that Janie had mismanaged the estate and breached her duty as a trustee. Even still, Leon received nothing more than the gold record that had been gifted to him by his father years before his death.

Bob Marley’s Estate

Bob Marley never saw himself as a “rich” man. In fact, he claimed not to have much in the way of assets during a 1979 interview with “60 Minutes.” What he failed to understand was that his legend would live on. Without rights to his image, trademark, and personality, the market would become a free-for-all. In some cases, the issue of selling merchandise would go beyond the capital money; it would be a matter of disgrace for those that loved and knew the legend best.

To stop the unabashed and insensitive manufacturing and sale of their loved one’s image, the family had to purchase rights to his image and trademark. Had Marley had the insight to understand the implications of passing away without a will, he might have better protected his family and his legacy.

Using a Will to Protect Your Legacy and Estate

Whether you have a sprawling estate worth millions, a legacy that needs to be preserved or only loved ones that you want to take care of once you are gone, draft a will. Schedule a consultation with the Long Grove wills and trusts lawyers at Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC and get started today. Call 847-934-6000.

About the Author: Attorney Jay Andrew is a founding partner of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC. He is a graduate of the University of Dayton School of Law and has been practicing in estate planning, probate, trust administration, real estate law, residential/ commercial leasing, contracts, and civil litigation. Since 2005, Jay has been a Chair of the Mock Trial Committee for the Annual Northwest Suburban Bar Association High School Mock Trial Invitation which serves over 240 local Illinois students each year.


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