Although it may be difficult to think about what may happen to your minor children in the event of your untimely death, it is vital to their future to plan for such a scenario. This is especially true for non-residents living in the United States, such as Israeli citizens living in the Silicon Valley, who may wish to nominate a guardian who lives overseas.
Ensuring the guardian of your choice is not as easy as letting your friend or relative know you wishes – or even as easy as including their name in your will. You will need to take several steps now in order to make more certain that your wishes are heeded in the event of an accident. Specifically, here are three things you should know about guardianship law in California if you are Israeli and have minor children:
- Legally and culturally, California and the United States are very different. In Israel, as you may know, it is uncommon to write up a will or worry about the future of your children should something happen to you. Family is at the center of all things – and family members are usually close by. If you live in the United States, family members may be thousands of miles away. Even if they are nearby, they may not have the legal authority to care for your children, even in the hours and days after they lose their parents.
- Naming a guardian in your will may not be enough. In California, the courts have the final say when it comes to who will act as guardian to your children. Although they take your will into consideration, they will also examine what is in the best interests of your child. It is vital that your will includes not only the name of your preferred guardian, but also why you believe this guardian is the best option for your kids.
- Name a temporary guardian as well as a permanent one. If your preferred guardian is living in Israel, it will take them time to travel to the United States and officially gain custody. During that time, your children may be placed in the foster care system if you have not named a temporary guardian who lives close by.
At the Law Office of Janet Brewer, our estate planning attorneys can help you understand United Sates guardianship laws – and give you peace of mind that your children will be in the right hands in the unlikely event of your passing. Specifically, our guardianship attorney Einat Arbel, a member of Israeli community and a fluent speaker of Hebrew, can assist you in navigating the guardianship process, from drawing up your will, to understanding California law, to choosing temporary guardians.
To learn more about our legal services, call us today at (650) 325-8276.