Guardianship Of Minor Children
Among the many fears that come with parenting is the question of “who will raise our children if we die before their grown.” In the Commonwealth of Virginia, if one parent dies in an accident or due to illness, the surviving parent becomes the sole custodian of the children—regardless of marital status or if the deceased parent was married to a non-parental spouse. But if both parents die, or each dies in succession, then the decision is left to the courts. At Hale Carlson Baumgartner, PLC, one of the most important services that our estate planning attorneys provide is to give parents the peace of mind that comes with knowing that there is a contingency plan for the guardianship of their children outlined in their will. Call our Northern Virginia office to discuss your options.
Parental Succession and Guardianships in the Commonwealth of Virginia
If you are the parent of a minor child, preparing a carefully drafted and executed will should be high on your priority list. Your will is the only way to absolutely ensure that your decision about who will raise your children will be honored. In addition, your will can detail your wishes regarding the schools that you want your children to attend, what your religious preference for your child is, and where you would like them to go for healthcare. If you have assets, you can allocate them to the guardian or in a trust for your child. Once our estate planning lawyers are aware of your wishes with regard to guardianship and asset allocation, we can draft a will with a guardianship clause that expresses your intent.
Guardianship Without a Will in VA
If you are the parent of minor children and die without a will, your children will automatically be placed in the custody of the other parent unless he or she is also deceased or has been declared unfit by the state. If there is no other parent, the guardianship of your child will be decided by the courts. The Virginia courts will usually try to place the child with a relative. There are instances, however, where no suitable guardian comes forward or there are multiple family members vying for guardianship. Situations like these could result in lengthy periods of uncertainty until the court hears all of the arguments. That’s why it is always recommended that Virginia parents identify a primary and alternate guardian and have an estate planning attorney draft a will.
Professional Estate Planning Lawyers of Northern Virginia
For over thirty years, our estate planning attorneys have been able to assure parents that their right to select the person who will raise their children is protected by a legally binding will. If you are the parent of a minor child who doesn’t have a will in place, please contact our Fairfax office immediately. To schedule an appointment with Northern Virginia’s top estate planning firms, call 1-703-591-4900.
Since 1980 the AV-rated law firm of Hale Ball has served the legal needs of individuals and businesses. Our team of attorneys include lawyers named to Super Lawyer and Rising Star lists, as well as attorneys with advanced legal degrees, specialty certifications and lawyers who teach their areas of practice to other lawyers.
Use the contact form on this page to schedule a consultation, or call 703-591-4900.
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