By Matt Meuli
You might not be a big fan of their typical life choices, but the Kardashians recently demonstrated impressive wisdom in protecting their minor children using estate planning.
During a recent episode of Keeping Up With The Kardashians, Khloé Kardashian was preparing to give birth to her first child, daughter True. Khloé was second-guessing her initial choice to name her sister Kourtney as the child’s legal guardian in the event something happened to her or the baby’s father, Tristan Thompson.
During her pregnancy, Khloé spent lots of time with her other sister Kimberly and her family, daughters North, Chicago, son Saint, and husband Kanye West. Watching her interacting with her own kids, Khloé really connected with Kim’s mothering style and pondered if she might be a better choice as guardian.
“I always thought Kourtney would be the godparent of my child, but lately I’ve been watching Kim, and she’s been someone I really gravitate to as a mom,” Khloé said.
To make things more challenging, Kourtney always assumed she’d be named guardian and said as much. Over the years, Khloé had lots of fun times with Kourtney’s family—sons Mason, Reign, and daughter Penelope—and Kourtney thought her own passion for motherhood would make her the natural choice.
For guidance, Khloé asked her mother, Kris Jenner, how she chose her kids’ guardians. Kris’ answer was to compare how her two sisters’ raised their own children.
“You just have to think,” Kris told her. “‘Where would I want my child raised, in which environment? Who would I feel like my baby is going to be most comfortable and most loved?’”
In the end, Khloé chose Kim over Kourtney. She explained her decision had nothing to do with her respect or love of Kourtney; it was merely about which style of parenting she felt most comfortable with.
“Watching Kimberly be a mom, I really respect her parenting skills—not that I don’t respect Kourtney’s, I just relate to how Kim parents more,” said Khloé. “I just have to make the best decision for my daughter.”
Khloé’s actions are admirable for several reasons. First off, far too many parents never get around to legally naming a guardian to care for their children in the event of their death or incapacity. Khloé not only made her choice, but she did so before the child was even born.
Khloé also took the time to speak and spend time with her sisters beforehand, so the family understood the rationale behind her decision. Khloé was lucky her choices were close family members, so she had ample opportunity to experience both of their parenting styles.
Depending on your life situation, you might not be able to spend that much time vetting your choice. But at the very least, you should sit down with each of your top candidates to openly and intimately discuss what you’d expect of them as your child’s new parents.
Furthermore, with multiple family members vying for the guardian role, Khloé’s quick action may have prevented a potential nightmare. If she’d delayed naming a guardian and something happened to her, Kourtney, Kim, and even other family members could’ve gone to court seeking guardianship of True.
This could’ve lead to years of contentious legal battles that not only cost the family huge sums of money, but the potential hardship imposed on the children can be incalculable. Even if you think something like this would never happen to your family, why take the risk, especially when it’s so easy to avoid?
While the Kardashians are wealthy and famous, you too can provide the exact same level of protection for your kids, even with minimal financial resources. It’s imperative as soon as it’s physically possible to choose someone who will step in to raise your children if you cannot. You must also legally document your choice and make sure the individual you’ve selected knows what to do if they’re called upon.
Many parents have no idea how to go about making this critical decision, much less create a legally binding plan, so they never get around to doing it. And even parents who have legally named a guardian (even with a lawyer’s help) often make at least one of six common mistakes that leave their children at risk.
This is because most lawyers aren’t aware of all that’s involved with planning for the well-being and care of minor children following their parents death or incapacity. As a Personal Family Lawyer®, one of our specialties is legal planning for the unique needs of those with minor children.
We’ve even created an easy-to-use (and absolutely free) website, where you can create legal documents naming long-term guardians for your children. You should immediately take this opportunity to ensure your kids are properly cared for by the person you trust most should anything happen to you.
And if you’ve already named guardians on your own or with a lawyer, we can review your existing legal documents. We’ll determine whether you’ve made any of the six common mistakes that leave your kids vulnerable and help you fill those gaps.
Beyond naming legal guardians, with us as your Personal Family Lawyer®, we can create a comprehensive estate plan with all of the necessary legal documents to ensure the protection and well-being of your entire family and assets, no matter what happens. Contact us now.
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