Who Will Take Care of My Kids if I Die?

Guest Blogpost By: Anna Wishart, Marketing Coordinator, Law Office of Joshua E. Hummer, PLC

Do you know who will take care of your kids if you die without a will? 

State governments have foster care systems ready if you children are left without a legal Guardian. It’s a necessary system, but if you’re like most people, you won’t want your children in state custody instead of with people who love them.

Unlikely, But Possible

It might seem unlikely that your children would lose both parents, but it can and does happen.

More than 400,000 kids per year are placed in foster care nationwide. Many have been abused, abandoned, or neglected, but some are there because their parents never made a plan for their care in the event of the parents’ death.

If there are no legal instructions about who should care for children and their parents die, Child Protective Services take over. If this happened to your kids, someone in your family would have to go to court and ask to become their Guardian.

If no one in your family wants to do this, or if the courts decide your family members are not qualified, your kids can be put into the foster care system, where they may stay until age 21.

Make a Plan for Your Children by Creating a Will

The best way you as a parent can protect your children’s future is to create a will. With a will, you can:

  1. Choose people to care for your kids if there is an emergency or you die. Without it, the police are required to contact Child Protective Services.
  2. Give specific instruction to these people about how to care for your children.
  3. Choose people to care for your children long-term. This is the person or people we call your children’s legal Guardian. If you don’t plan ahead for this, each of your family members has a chance at getting custody of your children, and the state makes the final decisions about who the children are given to.

More Resources for Protecting Your Children with Estate Planning

Don’t keep wondering “who will take care of my kids if I die?” Think about who you would want to have custody of your children if you passed away, and then use your will to set them up as legal Guardians for your kids. The simple act of creating a will can protect your children for life.

Joshua E. Hummer, Esq. is a licensed attorney who has been admitted in both Virginia and West Virginia. He is a graduate of the University of Virginia and has been practicing law for over 15 years. While experienced in many parts of the law, Josh specializes in estate planning, estate administration, and elder planning. When he isn’t working with clients, Josh loves spending time with his lovely wife, Jill, and their four vibrant children.

A Note from AbbaCare: To make your will legally sound, you’ll want to have it drawn up by an attorney. Do your research and don’t be afraid to call around to law firms in your area to ask about affordable pricing for wills, as some attorneys have sliding fee scales or may offer discounts for this service.

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