From the time they are born, parents want the best for their children.
We make sure that they get the right amount of food and sleep. We read to them and play with them. We set up play dates and expose them to interesting places like museums or zoos. We seek out neighborhoods that offer the best schools. We start a college savings account.
In short, our children’s happiness and well-being are our top priority.
But despite the desire to do what is best for their children’s future, the majority of parents have not designated a guardian to take care of their children in the event they become incapacitated or die. By not doing so, they put that important decision in the hands of a judge who may not know their children or family dynamics as well as they do.
A court is bound to consider the bests interests of a child, and will use whatever information is available to it in determining who to appoint as a guardian. However, the court may not have access to the same information a parent may have had.
For example, a court may appoint a guardian who you may not have considered because his or her child-rearing philosophy is diametrically opposed to yours. Or it may appoint a guardian who thinks organized religion is a sham, even though you would have wanted your children raised in a particular religious tradition.
Absent documentation about the parents’ wishes, these personal but important concerns may not be addressed.
You are in the best position to choose a guardian for your child in the case of your incapacity or death. Don’t risk letting a stranger do it for you.