What if You And Your Child’s Other Parent Both Die?

A Prince George’s County, Maryland, couple was killed by the driver of an SUV, who impatiently crossed the center yellow divider to pass two vehicles, then returned to the proper lane when it struck the couple’s car. The 31-year-old mother and 34-year-old-father left behind three young children. They were running an errand for some last minute items for a barbeque when they were hit, just a few blocks from their neighborhood, according to WJLA News. Few people like to think about their own deaths, and estate planning can be a difficult subject for some to broach. However, even more troubling to think about is a disaster in which both you and your child’s other parent both die. While uncommon, disaster scenarios such as these do occur, and oftentimes the deceased had no plan in place for their children’s upbringing. If both you and your spouse, or whoever is the other parent of your child, were to die, who would your children go to live with? Do you have grandparents that can care for them, or another relative such as a sibling or close cousin? If you do not name anyone, the court will choose someone for you based on what the court believes are the child’s best interests. If no relative or close family friend is available, the court may place your child in foster care for up to 15 months (or longer in some cases) until a permanent adoptive guardian is found.

Creating a List of Who Your Children Should Live With

The first thing to do when planning for the potential death of both your child’s parents is to create a list of all of your closest relatives. Consider the child’s grandparents, their aunts and uncles, and other close friends and relatives that the child knows well and has a positive relationship with. If your first choice is an elderly person, such as your older parent, make sure that you have a backup guardian in case your parent’s health fails before you next update your will. Remember that updating your will every three to five years is the best practice, but many people go much longer than this, especially younger parents who seemingly have their whole lives in front of them and whose last thoughts are about dying. After carefully considering who the child’s caretaker could potentially be, reach out to your family and friends to see if they would be willing to take on this responsibility, and let them know that you will be putting their names down as the child’s legal guardians in the event that you and your child’s other parent die.

Call Maryland Estate Planning Attorney Tara K. Frame Today

For parents, having a plan is crucial because the last thing that your child needs in the tragic scenario where both of their parents die, is to end up with a relative that does not really want them living under their roof, or to be sent to live with someone who is unfit to raise your child. Having an accurate and up to date will is a first step, and a Pasadena estate planning attorney can help you draft or update your will to include your wishes in the event of such a disaster. Call the estate planning attorneys at Frame & Frame today at 410-255-0373.