How to Write a Will for Child Custody

How to Write a Will for Child Custody

Estate planning documentation like wills and trusts usually direct how you want assets allocated at you passing and identify the individual responsible for managing your affairs. For parents that have younger children, there is an even more important reason to deviser such documentation: appointing a guardian to have physical custody of younger children, should neither parent be unable to care for them. When parents don’t take this action and pass away devoid of any estate-planning records, courts must determine who is going to have guardianship over the younger children. The individual eventually granted custody might not be the individual the parents wanted to have chosen for that role. Follow these steps to devise a legal will that records your wishes for guardianship.

  1. Carefully examine options for guardianship.

It’s not easy to think about someone other than you raising your children, but a portion of the estate-planning process includes planning for worst comes to worst scenarios. Consider the individuals in your life, and in your children’s lives, that could possibly step in as guardians should the need come up.

A lot of individuals decide on a parent or a sibling, but you could also appoint a close friend. You can also appoint a contingency in the will. For instance, the document could say “I appoint A as guardian. If A is unable or unwilling to serve, I appoint B as guardian.” Don’t forget that when you appoint a guardian in this document, you state your wishes in legal paperwork. Nevertheless, you cannot force and individual to serve as guardian. Appointing one or more possible guardians could help guarantee you have a say over who raises your children, even if your first choice is unable to take on or refuses that responsibility when you pass away.

  1. Devise your will.

When you have chosen on the individual you want to appoint as guardian, you need to include specific terminology in your will. Laws governing these issues are not uniform throughout the country, so be sure you understand what your state requires to impact legal guardianship appointments.

When your situation is somewhat simple, you can devise your will by yourself or use a trustworthy legal service provider to devise one. On the other hand, you can work with a licensed estate-planning or general practice lawyer in the state you live in.

  1. Follow your state’s legal protocols to carry out your will.

Following you creating your will, follow your state’s required legal protocols to make the document active. In a lot of states, a minimum of two capable adults need witness your signature. In many states, individuals creating wills are required to have three witnesses. You might also have to sign the document in the presence of a notary public.

  1. Be sure people know you have created a will.

After signing your documents, it is wise to make sure your personal representative (also known as the executor) appointed in your will knows where to locate the document. You might also decide to let you’re appointed guardian and any appointed successor or alternate guardians know you appointed them in the documents. Think about having those discussion prior to you creating the document, since you might discover the individual, you want to appoint simply is uncomfortable assuming legal responsibility for your child.

When you are the parent of a younger child, consider carefully about who you would want to look after your children when you pass away. Including this information in the will, adhering to state laws, and informing those appointed about your decision can guarantee that a plan is in place for your children that require a guardian.


  1. DeRuyter, C. (2018, June 25). How to make a will legally binding regarding custody of children. LegalZoom.

Speak With Our Child Custody Attorney In Scottsdale

Our child custody and guardianship attorney in Phoenix and Scottsdale will advance your case with concern and personal attention and always have you and your children’s best interest in mind when offering legal solutions.

An experienced family law attorney will work with you to obtain the best possible outcome in your situation. We advocate for our clients, so they have the brightest future possible. Give us a call today at 480-999-0800 for a free consultation.


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