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I have designated my cousin, who lives in NJ, as my child's guardian in my Will. Are any additional documents needed?

Austin, TX |

My husband and I both have Will's and live in Austin, Texas. In our respective Will documents, we both have designated that if either one of us pass away, custody of our child would stay with the surviving spouse. However, if both of us pass away at the same time, guardianship of our child would go to my cousin who lives out of state in New Jersey. In addition to the Will documents my husband and I have set up, are there any other legal documents that we need to prepare since my cousin does not live in the State of Texas? Is there anything else we need to do? This is worst case scenario of course, but for piece of mind we want to make sure that legally we have everything in place so in this circumstance the focus can be on the care of our child not legal issues of custody.

Attorney Answers 4

  1. The fact that you are asking this question in this manner makes me think you did your wills yourself. I think that is a mistake because you could ask this type of question to your lawyer. In any event you are at least proactive enough to have wills which is a good thing. Most states now allow for "standby" or "temporary" guardian nominations which are short term guardians that can be named to be with children until final permanent guardians are in place. I do this for many clients where I practice. You can ask an attorney in Texas or perhaps there is a TX attorney here on AVVO who knows if this is an option in TX.

    This is not legal advice nor intended to create an attorney-client relationship. The information provided here is informational in nature only. This attorney may not be licensed in the jurisdiction which you have a question about so the answer could be only general in nature. Visit Steve Zelinger's website:

  2. The first part of the question makes no sense and I'm not sure why it's in the Will. If one of you dies,l your child would stay with the surviving spouse(assuming natural child of you both). For peace of mind, have an attorney review your Will.

    Attorneys on Avvo donate their time and your feedback is appreciated. Be sure to mark the "Best Answer" or Helpful" to your questions.

  3. I agree with Mr Zelinger. Make sure your cousin agrees with your decision and knows where your will is being kept.

  4. Yes. There are additional documents you should complete, but not because your cousin is not a Texan. Lawyers draft and complete multiple documents when they do estate planning for their clients, including powers of attorney and other documents

    FYI, most of the "Do It Yourself" wills I have reviewed that clients completed were invalid (worthless), caused unnecessary probate expense, or did not do what the client wanted.

    I really suggest you speak to a lawyer. Good luck.

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