A common question when it comes to estate planning is “what happens if I don’t have a will?” The probate process will vary by state, but not having an estate plan can be stressful for your loved ones when the time comes or an emergency arises. This can be especially harmful if you have young children. What happens to your children if something happens to you? 

What happens to your minor children if you don’t have a Will?

Naming guardians for your kids is something that parents may overlook as it’s common to think that your kids would automatically be taken in by a family member if something were to happen to both parents. This unfortunately isn’t always the case, and even if they are taken in by a family member, it may not be who you had in mind. Without a plan in place, the decision is given to the legal system. To make matters worse, your children may potentially be placed in a foster care outside of your family while the decision is being made. 

There is also the question of how your children would be taken care of financially if you do not have a will. Presumably you would want your children to receive money from your estate to take care of them if something happened to you, but if you do not have a proper estate plan in place then it may be a battle for the new guardian of your children to access your money. In this instance, the guardian would need to go through the probate process to gain access to your assets and go through probate each time he or she needs funds to pay for the kids, which is timely and costly. This would eat into your assets that you would want to be allotted for the care of your children and could hinder their guardian’s care if they need the money. 

This isn’t meant to scare you, but to motivate you to do what’s right in having an estate plan that will make sure your children are taken care of should something happen to you. Having a will or trust can ensure that your wishes would be carried out in who would take custody of your children, how you want them to be raised, and that they would be financially secure. 

We can help you create the right plan for your family. If you live in Illinois or Wisconsin, we are here to help. Contact us and let us help you figure out the best path for protecting your family and all you’ve worked for. 


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Disclaimer: This article is intended to serve as a general summary of the issues outlined therein. While this article may include general guidance, it is not intended as, nor is a substitute for, qualified legal advice. Your review or receipt of this article by Lexern Law Offices, Ltd. (the “LLG”) or any of its attorneys does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and the LLG. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors of the article and does not reflect the opinion of the LLG.