I am frequently asked whether or not someone should get a will. It is a good idea for everyone to have a will, however if someone has minor children I feel so strongly about it that I think it should be a requirement to have one so that a guardian can be named.
If you don’t have long term guardians named in a will, it doesn’t matter if you recorded it in a video or wrote it in on a piece of paper, your designated guardian choice is not locked in. If something happens your personal representative will open probate in your name. People will petition the court and ask the court to be named the guardian’s of your kids. They will demonstrate to the court that they are able and willing to be a good choice to be your guardian. At the end of the day the person who is making that choice on who will raise your kids to teach them values and show them the way is going to be a judge.
For most people this gets super real when you think about the people who look good on paper and may be good people but have different values or belief systems and you may not want them to raise your kids.
A judge doesn’t know what your values are and what is important to you. They look at a piece of paper and make a choice on who the guardian will be. It’s the best choice the judge can make, but not always the right choice. You don’t get a say in the process.