Can I designate to whom my children will live in a will? How? 24 Answers as of August 05, 2013

I am a single father with two young children. Their mother left four years ago and we rarely see her; she has limited supervised visitation in the divorce decree.

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Christine Sabio Socrates Attorney at Law | Christine Socrates
You can make provisions for the appointment of guardian for your minor children within your will and your trust if you.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 8/5/2013
Law Office of Thomas C. Phipps | Thomas C Phipps
You can name any anyone you want to be guardian. A judge will make the final decision.
Answer Applies to: Missouri
Replied: 8/5/2013
The Krone Law Firm, LLC | Norman B. Krone
You have the right to designate your preference, but the final decision will be made by a Judge following your death.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 8/1/2013
Stephens Gourley & Bywater | David A. Stephens
Yes you can, but it would not be binding on the court. The court would at least consider the designation.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 7/30/2013
Arthur H. Geffen, P.C.
Arthur H. Geffen, P.C. | Arthur Geffen
You can name guardians in your will for your minor children. It is a suggestion to the court but if no one contests, that is who will take care of them.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 7/30/2013
    Frederick & Frederick PLC | James P Frederick
    Yes, you can do this. Of course, if you die, the court will still be predisposed to having the mother named as guardian, unless someone objects on safety grounds. It is virtually impossible to prevent a surviving biological parent from getting custody. What you can do is to tie up all the money, so you will eliminate a huge financial incentive for her to go after the kids. A trust is the best way to do this.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/29/2013
    Law Office of Pamela Braynon | Pamela Y. Braynon
    Yes you can. See an attorney that is familiar with this.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 7/29/2013
    The Law Office of David L. Leon
    The Law Office of David L. Leon | David L. Leon
    You can establish a guardian for your minor children should the need arise. It will not override a court order in your divorce, however. Typically, this is done in a will instrument.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 7/29/2013
    Strickland Law, PLLC
    Strickland Law, PLLC | Jeffrey S. Strickland
    By naming guardian(s), and successor guardians in the Will. There might be legal action if the mother decides to exert her rights as natural guardian or challenge the guardianship.
    Answer Applies to: Tennessee
    Replied: 7/29/2013
    Irsfeld, Irsfeld & Younger LLP | Norman H. Green
    Nominate guardians. Usually this is done in a will, but it also can be a separate document.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/29/2013
    Sanford M. Martin, P.A. | Sanford M. Martin
    If your former wife has parental rights according to the divorce decree or marital agreement, she will still have those rights if you die. You can express in your will your desired guardian(s) of your children, but your ex-wife will be able to use those rights, if she wants, to ask a court for custody. It appears you should express such desires in the interest of your children but you should be aware of the issues that may arise. If your ex-wife has serious reasons justifying supervised visitation, she may also have difficulty getting custody. So it will depend on the situation which exists at the time.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 7/30/2013
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C.
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C. | Brian Haggerty
    You can state your choice for a guardian in your will. Your choice of guardian will still have to petition for guardianship. Frankly, unless the mother is hopelessly unsuitable (I mean, convicted felon currently in jail unsuitable) the rights of the natural mother will prevail. Talk to your family law lawyer, maybe some agreement could be struck between you and the ex concerning raising the children if something happens to you.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 7/29/2013
    Law Offices of George H. Shers | George H. Shers
    You do not "own" the children so you can not state with whom they will live. You can state that the assets of your estate will go to a certain person only if the children are living with that person or some other type of provision making the disposition of the property subject to certain acts occurring. You have to be careful that the terms do not violate public policy, such as forbidding the mother from having custody because she is the mother as opposed to her not needing the money since she does not have the children.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/29/2013
    Richard J. Keyes Attorney at Law | Richard J. Keyes
    You would list who you would want as guardians of your children in your will. Normally the surviving parent gets custody. However, you state that she gets limited supervised visitation. There must be a valid reason for this and you should make it known in the will that the person(s) named guardian needs to fight for the custody. Please see an attorney for further information.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 7/29/2013
    Sebby Law Office
    Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
    Absolutely. One of the main purposes of a will is to indicate who will become the guardian of any minor children. Your children's mother may object and petition a court for custody. So take that into consideration when you choose the guardian and provide plenty of documentation as to why the judge should follow your wishes.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 7/29/2013
    James Oberholtzer, Attorney at Law
    James Oberholtzer, Attorney at Law | James Oberholtzer
    You can try but it is only a suggestion. In the absence of a danger to the children, the court will probably leave the natural parent as the custodian.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 7/29/2013
    Gates' Law, PLLC | Thomas E. Gates
    You can name a guardian in your Will who will raise the children in your absence.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/29/2013
    James T. Weiner & Associates, P.C.
    James T. Weiner & Associates, P.C. | James T. Weiner
    You can designate who you choose to be their legal guardian in a properly drawn up will. However, I believe that Michigan law gives their mother priority to be their guardian if she wants them if you pass. However, memorializing your choice in a will ... will give whomever you want to be their legal guardian a fighting chance. BTW I assume that you also have life insurance or other assets that would go to the minor children also.. one reason their mom would choose to be their guardian is to step in to have access to their inheritance until they are adults. So be sure to set up a trust also and separate the money from the kids.. that way you can protect your assets from her and her legal guardian so they actually know you provided for them. I routinely advise single parents to do this because usually they spouse split because of money problems (do you really want your ex to have access to your money?)
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/30/2013
    Law Office Of Victor Waid
    Law Office Of Victor Waid | Victor Waid
    Yes, you can, and should establish in your will, who will be the guardian of your children, and obtain the person permission as to who will be the guardian. That person may have to interface with the mother to the same limited extent as permitted by the divorce decree; the key here will be the type of custody you were awarded in the divorce decree; sole or joint legal, physical?
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/29/2013
    James Law Group
    James Law Group | Christine James
    Your question is not entirely clear. That said, you can certainly designate a guardian for your children and any money you might leave to them. You want to be very clear and specific in your designation as to the facts behind making it. Their mother will be legally entitled to physical custody of the children, absent any showing by a third party that she is unfit. That said, control over the money you might leave behind is entirely up to you, and I suggest you consult with an attorney who is willing to take the time and make the effort to ensure that you desires are clearly stated in the hopes that they are specifically met. At James Law Group we make every effort to respond to you quickly and efficiently. This means we may be responding to you from a mobile device. As you know, responding on these devices can result in typographical errors that my otherwise not occur. In order to provide this extra service, please be aware of this and excuse any errors that may be caused by responding in this forum. The content of this message is protected by attorney-client privilege.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/30/2013
    Law Office of Patricia A. Simmons
    Law Office of Patricia A. Simmons | Patrica A Simmons
    You may designate a proposed guardian and an alternate in your will. That individual will need to petition the court to be appointed the guardian of your children.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/29/2013
    Goldsmith & Guymon
    Goldsmith & Guymon | Dara Goldsmith
    Your wife has priority to raise the children in the event of your demise. You may name a guardian in your will but the proposed guardian would have to show the court that the mother is unfit (not easy to do, i.e. a felon, drug conviction, child endangerment, etc. not just not a good mom) to raise the children. You may want to name who is in charge of the children's inheritance. That does not need to be the mom.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 7/30/2013
    Darrell B. Reynolds, P.C. | Darrell B. Reynolds
    You can decide in a will who will take care of your children. You need to go and sit down with an attorney to discuss the matter.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/29/2013
    Peters Law, PLLC
    Peters Law, PLLC | Mark T. Peters, Sr.
    You can try, but if the mother wants to be the mother and has the ability to do it, then she will probably get custody. On the other hand, if you make sure that the money goes to somebody else to control, she may not want to be the mother if she cannot control the money. It would not hurt to tell the court whom you believe should be the guardian
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 7/29/2013
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