As a parent, one of the best things you can do for your children is to make plans for what happens to them if you should die. This usually means naming a guardian and putting your wishes into a legal estate document in Indiana. However, if you do not do this, you have no control over what happens to your minor children after your death.

According to Forbes, not naming a guardian is a serious issue if the children’s other parent is not alive or is unable to take custody. Typically, if you have custody of your children and you die, they go to the other parent. However, there are many times this will not happen. For example, if paternity is not legally established, a father may be unable to take custody of the children.

If there is no other parent to take custody of the children and you have not set up a guardianship, then the court decides what happens to your children. It is a huge misconception that your children automatically go to the next of kin. That is not true. The court must establish legal guardianship.

To avoid issues and the possibility your children may have to go into foster care, you should make sure you have set up a guardian in your estate plan. Also, make sure to update it often as things change so you can be sure whoever you choose will be able to take custody of your children if you should die. This information is for education and is not legal advice.