Without an Estate Plan in Place, Will My Children Go into State Custody?

Perhaps one of the most important times to develop an estate plan is upon the birth of a child. Although the last thing on anyone’s mind is their unexpected passing, the reality is that sometimes, unforeseen situations can present themselves when you least expect. Having a baby changes everything, ensuring that you have a plan for their care if you are unable to do so can help give you some peace of mind and allow for you to enjoy your new bundle of joy.

Ironing out a care plan for your children can be incredibly emotional and overwhelming. It’s important to note that without an estate plan in place you face a number of risks. With the passing of a parent, your child will be significantly impacted. Coming up with a clear plan can ultimately prevent the state from becoming involved. Estate-planning attorneys are well versed in drawing up estate plans for a family’s unique situation.

What is State Custody?

At times, some situations require that the state become involved in caring for a child. When a child comes into state custody, they officially become a part of the foster care system. There are a number of complicating factors that can be associated with this. State systems are often low on resources and thus strapped for appropriate foster parents. It’s likely that you will want your child to be connected to your family. When a child enters state custody, there is a risk that ties with a child’s family can become severed. An attorney can help you put together a plan to ensure that this does not happen.

The Impact the Death of a Parent has on Children

When a child is faced with the death of a parent, the stress they experience can be incredibly toxic. Although a child is likely to overcome this, they will require proper guidance and care from a loved one in order to achieve this. It can take a number of years for adolescents to recover following the death of a parent, the impact can include:

  • Anxiety
  • Trouble in School
  • Feelings of Stress
  • Confusion over what has happened to their parent
  • Explosive behaviors or feelings of anger
  • Separation anxiety from caregivers

Common Plans People Come Up with for Children

In most situations, when one parent dies, the other will assume the care of their child (ren). When both parents pass away, and one parent is unable or unwilling to care for their child, other plans need to be put into effect. It can be nerve wracking to consider that your child may not be cared for by one of your own. This is a primary reason that it’s so important for a parent to put together a clear plan for their children in their estate plan. The following elements will be vital to ensuring that your child is well taken care of:

  • A guardian who will take care of your minor child
  • An executor to ensure that your will is carried out in the way that you intended.
  • Often this is a trusted friend or member of your family
  • A trust to ensure that your child is financially taken care of in the way that you would like

Estate plans can be daunting, however, an estate-planning attorney can help mitigate some of the overwhelming feelings you may be feeling. Contact an Arizona family trust lawyer today to review your options, they may be able to ensure that nothing is left out when it comes to the details surrounding the care of your child.

Thank you to our contributing Arizona Estate Planning Attorneys for their insight into estate planning with children.