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Should you rewrite your will and designate a guardian while still pregnant?

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2013-04-04 21:35:09
2013-04-04 21:35:09

This is -- I can't emphasize it enough -- very important! You should, from my point of view, do this before the birth.

I had a friend in elementary school whose parents were killed in an auto accident when she was 3 weeks old. No relatives were found, and there was no one designated as a guardian if something happened to Laura. The result was she became a ward of the state and was then put up for adoption. There are probably relatives out there; the county or the State of California just couldn't find them to tell them.

Additionally, my grandparents both died before my mother was 12. No one was designated as a guardian, and she was placed in a foster home for five years. One year (age 12-13) was spent being shuttled between various half-brothers and sisters who were either unable to care for her at the time, or didn't wish to, because she was from their father's second marriage.

A person may name a guardian for all children who may be born to him or her in the future, just as one can leave property to children who may be born to him or her in the future.

Designating a guardian can take time if there isn't an obvious choice. You also need to make sure the guardian is willing!

A will has to be probated to be effective, so naming someone as guardian in a will is going to delay things. I would recommend a letter nominating someone as guardian of any children who are minors at the time of your death. Have the nominee keep the original, but keep a copy somewhere where it will be found in the event of your death.

If you write the letter yourself instead of having an attorney do it for you, make sure the letter is written in your own handwriting (not typed), signed by you and dated. It would also be advisable to have it notarized. In addition, you should make sure the copy you keep is a certified copy, rather than just a xeroxed copy.

If you are having a problem pregnancy, you can make sure the hospital and attending physician know about the letter and know how to contact the nominee. Make sure the nominee knows she/he has to go to court to be legally appointed guardian. Neither a will nor a letter designating a guardian does anything to create a legal guardianship.

If the father is alive and wants custody of the child, he may get custody in preference to a guardian nominated by you. If you have reasons for not wanting the father to have custody, you should make them clear in the letter and provide the nominee with whatever evidence you have to support your claims.

Basically accurate. In most states you recommend a foster patent or custodian. The local court has the final say but will take your designation into consideration.

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You should get it from a parent/guardian


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