How to Give Away Your Kids

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Although it may not be pleasant to consider, it's important to have a plan in place for what happens to your children in the event of your death. Who will be your child's guardian, and who will be the guardian of your estate? Experts say it's a difficult decision many families agonize over, and there's no one-size-fits-all scenario. Here's a look at the most important considerations when you're making out your will and planning for your child's financial future without you.

It's incredibly difficult to think about what might happen to your child once you're gone, but it's a discussion you must have, says Dan Mielnicki, an estate and trust attorney with Florida-based Berger Singerman.

Because the debate and decision can be complex, it's not uncommon for families with young children to get "frozen in place" without making a choice, he explains.

"They think, 'Should we leave the kids to your mother who is older and won't be around much longer, or my sister whose lifestyle we don't agree with?' It can be incredibly difficult," Mielnicki says.

In most states, although you're allowed to nominate someone as a guardian of your child, the court has the final decision as to who is the most appropriate caregiver.

"It's at the discretion of the court as to what's in the best interest of the child," Mielnicki says.

When you're making out your will, remember that your money and your child can go in completely different directions. Two types of guardians can be specified in your will -- the guardian of the child, and the guardian of the property or the estate. Although they can be the same person, they don't have to be.

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