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A parent's choice: Naming a guardian for your child in your will

As the cliché goes, everyone needs a will. Even young adults, who often own very little in the way of assets, because a will provides the ability to choose a guardian for your child. According to surveys, 80% of millennials and nearly 65% of Generation Xers do not have a will or any other estate planning documents. As the top cause of deaths for young adults is by an unintentional injury, which include car crashes and other random accidents, when a young adult dies, they frequently die suddenly, and they die without any estate planning. 

In Arkansas, the guardianship laws provide an "Order of Preference" for the naming of a guardian. Obviously, any living parent of a minor child will be preferred as the guardian over all others. However, if both parents die in the same car crash, or if the child's only parent dies from a random accident, then a guardian for the child will be necessary. If the deceased parent(s) did not have a Will naming a preferred guardian, and if the child is under the age of 14, then the Court must choose a guardian, giving equal preference to all relatives in the same degree, which means, for example, all grandparents will be given the same amount of preference.

However, this uncertainty can all be avoided by having a simple will, and by naming a preferred guardian for your child in the will. If a minor child does not have any living parents, then the Courts must give preference to the person you list in your will as the child's preferred guardian. Thus, if for no other reason than to take advantage of the ability to choose a guardian, make a will. By setting aside just a small amount of time to make a simple will, you can name your preferred person to care for your child. To read more about simple wills please read more here.

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