Who Should You Pick To Be The Guardian of Your Minor Children?
This is a very personal decision, which gives many people anxiety; who should care for your children in your place if you should die? You know your children better than anyone, and you have your own parenting style and philosophy. Here are some thoughts that might help guide you as you make this difficult (but necessary!) decision.
Is the Guardian Willing and Able to Serve? Are they single and incredibly busy? Are they happily married? Do they have children of their own? Are they happy with their career or on the verge of retirement? Are they planning on moving to another State?
What is the Guardian’s Age and Health? Your Mom and Dad might be awesome grandparents, but can they take care of a 5-year old on a full time basis? What about your sibling or best friend who already has children...can he/she take on the responsibility of another child?
Will the Guardian Have the Money to Raise Your Children? Can the Guardian absorb the additional costs? Can you set up a trust to pay for the extra costs?
Where Would Your Child Attend School? Are you happy with the school district in which your selected guardian currently lives? Have you thought about putting your hopes/standards pertaining to your child's schooling in a separate document to be included with your estate plan?
Does the Guardian Have the Right Temperament? Does your child have special needs (i.e., ADD, Learning Disabilities, Emotional Imbalances, Physical Disabilities)? Keep these in mind when selecting the Guardian. Those needs will factor into whether the Guardian should have a laid back personality or be more inclined to live a structured life.
Will the Potential Guardian Respect Your Religious and Moral Beliefs?
The choice of a Guardian is an important part of your estate plan. No one can replace you, but there may be someone you know and care about that will care for your child(ren) in the same type of loving environment that you are currently providing. After deliberation, the right choice will likely present her/himself. (You are better suited to make this decision than a judge who has never spent time with your child(ren). If you don't make the decision now, the judge will be forced to do it for you after you die.)
Our estate plans are drafted to include guardianship provisions for minor children. We will advise you on the best way to protect funds that your children will inherit, as well as guide you through the process of selecting a guardian.