Why is choosing a guardian for minor children one of the more neglected responsibilities of parents?
So, for the past year, I’ve been interviewing families, trying to figure out why people don’t pick a guardian for their child and cross it off their parenting list?
As it happens, parents would rather talk about pretty much any other part of their personal life than answer this question. But when they finally do start talking, almost everyone has the same misconceptions about the process. In fact, most folks are letting four major myths hold them back from getting the job done and protecting their kid in case the worst happens.
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Myth #2: Someone will step up anyway
If I had a dollar for every time I hear: my child has so many devoted people in her life, if something ever happened to us, our friends and relatives would be fighting to take care of her.
The Danger: Without a will, a judge makes the final decision, not you. And while your in-laws and neighbors are all vying for custody, your child could be caught in the middle — meeting with lawyers and social workers until the whole mess is sorted out. Some children even land in foster care while their case grinds its way through the legal system.
Time for a dose of tough love: the “so many people” excuse is a cop out. No one wants to think about leaving a child behind, but if you’re a parent, you’ve got to get your act together, and choose somebody.
Myth #3: You’ve left a letter or an email
A good number of parents say they’ve stashed a letter somewhere, or have this email on their laptop outlining their last wishes, so that’s where their child would go, right? Not necessarily.
The Danger: No matter how eloquently you’ve voiced your preferences, your letter or email is not legally binding. A judge could take it under advisement, but he could also come to his own “better” assessment. And why risk it? If you’ve taken the time to consider the right person, why not just make it official and seal the deal?
It is hard to excuse an ineffective nomination in California because the process of nominating a Guardian is simple. A written declaration under penalty of perjury naming the desired guardian is sufficient.
Read the rest of this article at the Huffington Post.