Will You Be Ready – Parenting Beyond Death
Confronting the Nightmare
No one wants to think of dying and leaving minor children behind. Life and history bring tragedies and often they are difficult to contemplate. But they can be confronted. By including a custodial appointment in your Will, you can gain peace of mind knowing that your children will be cared for by someone in whom you have faith in the event of your untimely death.
What is Custody?
Custody is the right and responsibility to make all of the most important parenting decisions you likely lose sleep over. From choices about education and extra-curricular activities, to religion and health care, custody entails all of the major decisions that define parenthood and caregiving today.
How it Works
In Ontario, you can use your Will to select who will have custody of your children if you die and no one else—like a surviving and capable parent—is entitled to it by law. Because the ‘best interests of the child’ is the overriding concern in family and children’s law, the court reviews all custodial appointments made by Will after 90 days. Case law shows us that the strongest evidence the court will consider before making the appointment permanent are the wishes expressed in a Will and what’s been happening for the first 90 days after death. This is why you want to be sure that your wishes are captured in a properly drafted Will.
Your Will includes other parenting decisions you can maintain control over too. At what age should your children be able to claim their share in your Estate? Eighteen may be the age of majority, but is it the age of financial maturity? Who should be entrusted with safeguarding your children’s entitlements until then? That’s for you to decide. Make these parenting decisions while you can: have your Will drafted today, and rest in the knowledge that death won’t be a limit to parenthood.
Jamie Froats is an associate lawyer with Jim Dean Law who specializes in
the firm’s Wills and Estate business.