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single estate planning

Who Will Raise Hope?

There is a corny television show named Raising Hope. It is about a twenty-something young man named Jimmy who is raising his daughter Hope because her mother was executed for a crime she committed. Jimmy lives with his mother, Virginia, father, Bert, grandmother and daughter Hope. They are a wacky family that marches to the beat of a different drummer. Jimmy works at a grocery store where he has a friend named Sabrina, who is a cashier.

The subject comes up of who is going to raise Hope if he dies suddenly. His mind explores the various people in his life and what attributes they have to serve as surrogate parent for Hope. He quickly eliminates everyone he knows including his Mom, who can’t even get out of bed for work and his Dad, who can’t keep track of his pairs of shoes, flip flops, and socks. In one funny scene, Bert’s missing sock is stuck on his back with static cling, just out of his view.

Virginia, Bert, Jimmy, and Hope travel to the attorney’s office who meets them on a Saturday. How odd. I don’t know any attorney who meets clients on Saturdays. I certainly don’t. On the attorney’s desk is a time meter box with a bell on it that the attorney hits for every ten dollars of fees he earns. So Hope’s family talks quickly. Jimmy settles on Sabrina Collins as the best candidate as guardian for Hope. Later, Jim asks Sabrina but she says she has no experience and doesn’t want the job. When they leave the attorney’s office, they pile into the truck and the attorney comes out, with baby Hope in his arms, and says, “Aren’t you forgetting someone?”

Jimmy announces that none of them are fit to raise Hope, including himself. He shares his revelation to Sabrina who tells him that his family needs to teach each other to be independent and become capable people. They proceed to do just that. At the end of the show, they experience a near death experience together. They realize if it goes bad, there will be no one to raise Hope, but then get out of the dangerous situation with a big sigh of relief.

Will the show win a Golden Globe? Hardly, but the writers tackle an excellent topic of selecting a guardian for your children, should you die before they grow up. My law firm handles this type of planning and encourages clients to name guardians for their minor children in their Last Will and Testament. I know a lot of people with minor children who will not do any estate planning because they can’t decide who to name as guardian. This makes no sense.

I can’t think of any more important task as a parent than naming a guardian for your minor children in your will.