Probate is the legal process that identifies, marshals and distributes an estate’s assets after the parents’ deaths, which can be a scary time for your child.
Chances are, this is the first time you are thinking about child custody in your estate plan, and plenty of myths are circulating about this topic. Here are the truths surrounding several common myths. First, however, it is essential to get legal help from an experienced probate attorney.
If children are old enough, they can decide on custody
If you die without an estate plan, the custody process goes to the courts, which is time-consuming and costly. Unfortunately, in this situation, your child does not get the final say in who they live with. The court makes these decisions in your child’s best interest, although that does not rely on children’s input.
Residential and financial custody always go to the same person
After the death of a parent, the probate process can feel overwhelming, especially if you do not leave a will. In this case, the court will appoint a guardian for your child and their finances; often, this is the same person when the court makes this decision. However, if you leave an estate plan, you can outline who cares for your child and manages their finances, including designated different people.
Estate planning does not affect the probate process
Fortunately, families can use estate planning to get through the probate process as quickly and smoothly as possible. That helps reduce the complication of probate proceedings and ensures your family carries out your wishes after you die.
These are just the most common misconceptions about child custody during probate. Ultimately, it would be best to talk to a lawyer to help you navigate the estate planning process.