It’s not pleasant to think about your death, especially if you will leave behind minor children. But it is necessary to ensure your children are well taken care of after you are gone. When establishing your estate plan, your will includes who you choose to be a guardian to your minor children (or special needs child) after you are gone. And you may want to include a guardianship letter of explanation.
Before we talk about a guardianship letter of explanation, we need to explain what guardianship is. Legal guardianship occurs when a person assumes the legal responsibility to care for and protect another. In your will, you can ask to assign guardianship to your minor children. Perhaps you want your sister or parents to raise your children when you die.
When considering who you want to raise your kids, you must decide what is most important when naming your child’s legal guardian. You’ll want someone with the same beliefs, values and genuine love for your child.
If you have a volatile situation and want the guardian to be someone unexpected, you may want to leave a letter of explanation. This will tell the courts why you chose this person to raise your children. Letting the courts know your reasoning may help if there is confusion or if someone contests or fights guardianship.
It’s your last voice and last chance to tell everyone why your children should be with the guardian you chose.
The letter of explanation should include the following:
This letter will help the courts understand your situation and state of mind when you assigned guardianship. This may also help the judge rule in your favor if someone fights the guardianship assignment. Having an experienced guardianship attorney on your side after you are gone is sometimes necessary.
An Illinois estate planning lawyer can help you create a will and name guardianship over your children. Consulting with us can give you peace of mind for your child’s future. Contact the Estate & Probate Legal Group at 630-864-5835.
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