If my brother asked me to care for his child if something were to happen to him and his girlfriend, how do we go about this?

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If my brother asked me to care for his child if something were to happen to him and his girlfriend, how do we go about this?

What is the official process he should follow to make this legit? I know they do not have much money and can’t afford to pay for an attorney to draw up a Will or Power of Attorney. So I told him I would see if there was another way to “officially” document both mom and dad’s wish.

Asked on June 28, 2011 under Estate Planning, Missouri

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The way to do this IS with a will. A will can be drafted by the testator(s) (the people making the will)--it is not a legal requirement that a lawyer be used--but it MUST conform to all the legal requirements, including how signed and witnessed, for wills or it will be ineffective. In the will, not only can property be distributed, but guardians for any children can be established. Given what is at stake--the future of a child--it is well worth the investment to retain an attorney to draw up a proper will that make sure that the parents' wishes are respected and will be followed by the legal system should the worst happen. Remember: by the time it's important who the guardian is, it's too late to redo the paperwork if there was an error.


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