This Story Will Break Your Heart.
This Story Will Break Your Heart
In 2006 Casey and Melanie Barber were on a summer vacation with their three children when their van blew a tire and spun out of control, resulting in a horrifying accident that left Casey and Melanie dead. Miraculously, all three of their boys survived the accident.
In the aftermath of the accident there was confusion among family members concerning who would care for the children. Because the Barbers left no clear instructions, this confusion ultimately resulted in a court battle over custody of the boys (and their inheritance) that lasted for more than a year, involved no less than 9 different attorneys, and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in attorney fees and court time.
In the end, the court appointed a legal guardian who may or may not have been the person who Casey and Melanie would have wanted to raise their children. We’ll never know because they never made their wishes known.
It Doesn’t Have to Be That Way for Your Family
Like many parents with minor children at home, the Barbers didn’t take the time to put an estate plan together that would have protected their children after their accident. Many parents have so many questions about the estate planning process and feel so overwhelmed by the thought of their children being raised without them that they procrastinate and do nothing at all.
The most important thing that any parent can do is name a guardian for their children. A guardian is the person who will raise your children if you’re not able to raise them yourself. Most people don’t realize that if you don’t legally name a guardian to raise your children, then the courts will have to do it for you; and they may not choose the person that you would have wanted.
Every loving parent understands the need to have a plan in place should something happen to them. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of misunderstanding surrounding wills, trusts, and the court system. Getting information about the basics of a good estate plan is the first step. The second step is to speak with an estate planning attorney about your unique family dynamic and your specific goal of protecting your children. They should be able to answer your questions, offer advice for how to best protect your children, and craft a plan that meets your needs.
With a god attorney, the process of estate planning shouldn’t be intimidating, difficult or even time consuming. It should however be a fundamental requirement for every parent.
Take the first step toward insuring that your children will be taken care of, no matter what happens to you! Download your free copy of A Parent’s Guide to Protecting Your Children Through Estate Planning at www.parents.mastrylaw.com