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There are several issues that your child might be confronted with if you pass suddenly and without a will, especially if you still have minor children. You want to make sure that the child is cared for properly by someone you trust and that the child gets your assets once he or she reaches a certain age.

First of all, you and your spouse (or the child’s other parent) should both make out a will naming the same person to take over as the personal guardian should both of you die. In that case, if a personal guardian is needed to care for your children, then a judge will nominated the personal guardian you have named, unless the court deems that person unfit. This personal guardian will then be responsible for raising the child until the child becomes a legal adult.

If only one parent dies, the other parent will inherit full custody of the child, unless, of course, that parent has abandoned the child or is otherwise deemed unfit as a parent.

If your child is not yet 18, and you have assets, the child will not be able to manage those assets until he or she is 18. In that case, you must appoint someone to manage your property if you would like to avoid having someone appointed to do so by the court. You can choose a custodian to manage those affairs under the Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA). The UTMA will end once your child has reached the age of majority.

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