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Visalia, CA Estate Planning Blog

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Ten Most Common Estate Planning Mistakes: Part Four of Five

Hi everyone! We’ve made some great progress in identifying the ten most common mistakes made regarding guardianship nominations in estate planning. I have just four left to share with you. The subject: What would happen to the kids if something happens to you? Lets examine. (if you missed the first 6, click here).

Mistake # 7: The seventh mistake I have identified is naming guardians only for the long term. When most people think about choosing a guardian if something happened to them, they are considering who they would want to care for their children for the rest of the foreseeable future. But deciding on a short-term guardian is also absolutely essential. Think about it: suppose you’ve named your brother and his wife as guardians, but they live in Florida? If something happened to you, who would care for your children in the time it would take to contact your brother and for him to arrive here in California? Child Protective Services (the state) could place the children in short-term care. This could mean foster care with a stranger! The event of something happening to you would be traumatic enough for your children. They would need to be with someone they know, living here, and right now. You would want someone you trust, someone with whom your kids are comfortable to help them through those terrible first few hours/days before their long-term guardian is on the scene. It is a small window of time over which to appoint a guardian, but when you think about it, it is a crucial one.

Mistake # 8: (Another “biggie”)… not notifying people who are named as guardians. This seems rather logical, but again, it is surprising how often those nominated as guardians remain un-notified. In many cases, parents simply don’t wish to bring up what can feel like (okay…IS) an unpleasant subject. But when you think about it, notifying your chosen guardian(s) is a very important thing to do. Firstly, it is a good idea to let them know that they’ve been chosen, just to make absolutely certain that they feel comfortable with this role. AND talking about this appointment is an excellent opportunity to start deepening your relationship with your chosen guardian; involving them more in the lives of your children, and strengthening the bond between all of you. Even if your guardian never needs to assume that role, this conversation is an excellent way to take your relationship to a newer, more meaningful level.

Remember: it’s the examination of seemingly small details like these that makes a meaningful guardianship plan for your children. I understand that thinking about these things can be difficult, but let’s just do it! Let’s get it done. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain, because I will walk with you and help you plan this out. I will draft your guardianship nominations at no charge. I will answer any questions you may have about estate planning, free of charge or obligation. Call me. Book an appointment online. Plan it forward!

Click here to read about mistakes #9 and #10.


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Located in Visalia CA, Joan A. Watters, Esq. Attorney at Law assists clients throughout the Central Valley of California with various estate planning and elder law. Areas include but are not limited to Visalia, Exeter, Tulare, Hanford, Bakersfield, Lemoore, Three Rivers; and the surrounding counties of Tulare, Kings, and Kern.



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220 South Mooney Blvd., B, Visalia, CA 93291
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