Autoweek recently announced that Paul Walker’s car collection would be placed up for sale. The proceeds from this sale only create more questions about his estate – who should make the decision on how the money is spent?
Most of us aren’t worth the estimated $45 million fortune that Paul Walker left behind after his sudden death on Nov. 30th of last year, but there is an important lesson to be learned from this tragic event. His will leaves his estate to his daughter, Meadow, a minor, but doesn’t specify who will raise her or manage the estate.
Guardianship is a difficult question for many parents and is often avoided because a couple can’t decide which family is a better choice in the event that both parents die. This decision becomes more complex when there are children from multiple marriages or children outside of the marriage. If there is a significant difference in ages, is a sibling a better choice?
While these are difficult questions for married couples, the question is tougher when the parents are divorced or never married. S.C. Code Ann. § 20-7-100 would suggest that custody automatically reverts to the surviving parent upon the other’s death:
The mother and father are the joint natural guardians of their minor children and are equally charged with the welfare and education of their minor children and the care and management of the estates of their minor children; and the mother and father have equal power, rights, and duties, and neither parent has any right paramount to the right of the other concerning the custody of the minor or the control of the services or the earnings of the minor or any other matter affecting the minor.
Regardless of your marital status, unless you want a total stranger deciding what is in the “best interest” of your child, you’ll need to outline your wishes and plan to update it on an annual basis as your family changes.
When you need help with the tough questions in life, please contact us here at Harden Law. We serve Fort Mill SC and surrounding South Carolina areas. We can help you in your divorce case and provide you legal advice. Please click here to contact us today.