If anything good comes out of Michael Jackson’s untimely death at all, it will be the universal wake-up call to parents around the globe that says, “You must name guardians for your children in the event of your death or incapacity!”
With a custody battle brewing between the Jackson Family, Michael’s nanny, and the biological mother of Michael’s children (who might not be the biological mother after all according to reports), in addition to the battle between creditors over his estate, news outlets are finally reporting on the absolute necessity of estate planning for all families with children and what the absence of it means for parents across the globe.
Parents rich and poor, young and old must realize it’s time to put the “It won’t happen to me” or “I’ll worry about it later” mentality aside when it comes to estate planning and doing what’s necessary to protect your kid’s well-being and care if, and when you can’t be there.
Michael Jackson had a slew of lawyers who handled his affairs. You would think someone, somewhere would have taken the time to explain exactly what would happen to his children and his assets if he passed away suddenly-or even found himself unable to care for the kids due to his drug addiction or complications from Lupus.
Clearly, if Michael Jackson’s estate planning could fall through the cracks, imagine the millions of people that would find themselves legally unprepared should the worst happen to them or someone they love. Maybe even you. Unfortunately, you cannot predict how or when you will die- but you absolutely can dictate how your children and your assets will be handled after your death with advanced legal planning.
One of the common myths about estate planning is that “It’s just for rich people” or “it’s only necessary for old people”- neither of these excuses can be any further from the truth! The truth is … if you have a child, whether you have $10 or $10 million dollars, you MUST at a bare minimum name legal guardians for your child in the event of your inability to care for them. Naming guardians includes both short-term guardians for the immediate term and long-term guardians.
It doesn’t matter how old you are or how close you are with your family, if you don’t put guardianship decisions in writing, your child could end up in the middle of a very messy custody battle-or even worse-in the care of the state foster system!
So, use this horrible event as a wake-up call and take control of your future and that of your kids! Don’t wait another day to document exactly who you want to raise your children if something happens to you before they can care for themselves. Take the time to document the values you’d want passed on to your kids and how you’d want them to be raised if you were no longer around.
Do these things NOW before it’s too late, or the court may end up making these choices for you, to the detriment of your kids. And share this article with a friend or family member who has little kids at home. They’ll thank you for it.