If anything ever happened to you, do you know who would step in and raise your kids? 

You may be surprised to learn that if anything ever happened to you, a district court judge is going to decide who should raise your kids. Even if you have named godparents for your children, and even if you have talked with friends and family about who you would want to raise your kids, the fact remains that unless you take the time to get your wishes in writing in a manner that complies with Minnesota law, a judge is going to decide who raises your kids.

And a judge, despite his or her best efforts, simply does not have all the information that you do about who would be the best choice to raise your kids. 

With limited time and limited information, the judge would be forced to make a decision that will forever impact the lives of your children, may use criteria you would not have used in making that decision, and might appoint someone you would not have wanted. 

In 2006, Melanie and Casey Barber and their three sons, then ages 3, 5, and 8 were on vacation when a tire separated and the van they were driving rolled on the highway and highway. Melanie and Casey died, their three sons survived.

In court proceedings, over one thousand pages of documents were filed, nine lawyers were involved, and tens of thousands of dollars were spent deciding who the guardians for the boys should be. Court documents reflect that the Barbers had talked with family about naming guardians for their three sons, but since nothing was in writing a judge had to decide.

As you can see, if you don't get your wishes in writing, your family could end up --even with the best of intentions--fighting over who should be the guardian of your kids.

The fight could take years or more, thousands of dollars, and leave your family deeply divided.

It doesn't have to be this way. 

By taking the time to get a written plan in place, you can ensure that your children would be raised by whom you want and how you want.

Chuck Roulet
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Nationally Recognized Estate Planning Attorney, Author, and Speaker