According to one expert, Maryland parents should consider what will happen to their children should both parents pass away. It's an unpleasant topic and one that many parents avoid. However, it's an important issue that every parent should take seriously. In a column, the expert recounted her own family's confusing experience after her father's death. She said that most families could avoid that experience by executing a few simple estate administration documents.
There are two major issues concerning children following a parent's death, the first is custody. Custody is determined by a final will and testament. Some parents believe that they can simply tell their families their wishes with regard to custody of their children. However, courts go by what's on paper, not by verbal communication. Wishes won't be considered unless they're in a will. The expert said that she even went so far as to provide her children's custodians with parenting guidelines, such as how often the kids should attend church and when they're allowed to start dating. The custodians aren't required to follow the guidelines, but they can be made aware of the parents' wishes.
The second issue with regard to child custody is the financial support of the children. This area can become murky depending on the age of the child, how much money is involved and who is responsible for the management of the assets. The expert said that she and her husband had set up funds for her children and named two individuals from separate households to manage the investment and spending of the funds.
Estate planning can be a confusing and emotional issue for many parents. An attorney with estate planning experience could guide them through the process, examine their family and assets and recommend the appropriate documents. The attorney could also draft the documents and even execute them in the unfortunate event of a parent's death.