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NRIs In US With Kids: Why It Is Important To Draw A Will


The reasons for drawing up a Will apply to everyone in the US, it gains more importance for NRIs in the US if their proposed guardians live in India.

In the past decade, a lot of Indians have migrated to the US and settled down there. For many, they are the first generations from their families to move and most of their immediate family members like parents and siblings are still in India. Now, if you are among them and you also have children, then it's a good time to sit down and think about drawing up a Will. While the reasons for drawing up a Willapply equally to everyone in the US, it gains more importance for NRIs in the US if their proposed guardians live in India. Here's why.

What a Will does

In the unlikely event that both of the child's parents would die, a guardian must be appointed if the child is under 18. A Will is needed to document the appointment of a guardian.

"In the absence of a Will or if a guardian for your children has not been nominated, someone would need to apply as guardian," explains Janet Brewer, a California based attorney. That person would need to explain why s/he is better suited to raise the child than having the child be placed in foster care in the US. "If the proposed guardian is not a US resident and would like to take the child to his home country, then he needs to show why it is in the 'best interests of the child' to be taken from the US," Brewer adds. Further, it would take time for the proposed guardian to reach the US and he/she must be prepared to stay in the US for at least 30-45 days until all legal matters are put in place.

Since this entire process can be tedious, naming a guardian in the Will ensures that the parents decide who their kids should be cared by.

State decides guardianship rules Laws relating to appointment of guardians vary from state to state. "Some states do not permit a non-US citizen or non-US resident to serve as a guardian. That makes the parents' choice of a guardian much more difficult, since their first choice might be their own parents or a sibling who resides outside of the US," says Brewer.

In such cases, parents must check the state laws and appoint the guardian accordingly.

How to draw up a Will

Making a Will by itself may not be a difficult process. You can do it yourself using online Will preparation kits. You can also get readymade forms at stores. However, as we mentioned earlier, it is important to understand guardianship laws, especially if you would like to appoint an overseas guardian. It would be best to contact an attorney to prepare your Will.

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