Choosing a legal guardian who can raise your kids if you are unexpectedly incapacitated or pass away can be a daunting and difficult challenge. There are many things to take into account such as parenting styles and the potential guardian’s ability to love and take care of your children.
These are just some of the questions I believe every parent should answer before naming a guardian.
- Where will your children live? Many parents desire to keep their children in a familiar environment if something unfortunate happens. It’s not unusual for parents to put instructions in their estate plans regarding the cities or states they want their kids to be raised in if mom or dad passes away. If the geographical location of where your kids will be placed is important to you, be sure to make this known to your attorney when creating your plan.
- Is your child or children familiar with the potential guardian? It is important that your children are comfortable with the guardian you are about to choose for them. If you are selecting a guardian that lives far away, you may want to consider ways to begin cultivating a relationship between your children and the potential guardian before it’s needed. Naming a temporary guardian is also important in such situations. This will ideally be a person that lives close by and can help ease the transition to your kids relocating to their permanent guardian’s home.
- Is your potential guardian prepared to care for your child or children? There are many factors that could fall under this category but it is important to make sure that your guardian is emotionally, physically, and financially prepared to care for your child/ren. For example, you may want a grandparent to become a guardian, but it’s possible that their age and their own financial and/or medical needs may make serving in this role difficult for them. Don’t forget to take their point of view into account when making your selection.
- Do any of your children need special care? If you have a child with a mental or physical handicap, it could take special knowledge and resources to care for your child. It is important to make sure that the named guardian would not be overwhelmed by this responsibility and that they are prepared to care for your child in whatever way that your child may need.
- Have you discussed this choice with your potential guardian? It is very important that you ask your potential guardian if this is a responsibility that they can take on. You will also want to talk about your desired path for raising your child/ren to make sure that you are in agreement and that your wishes will be followed.
As parents, we spend a lot of time planning the best future for our children. Make sure that your planning includes naming a legal guardian should you become unexpectedly incapacitated or pass away. You should be the one making that decision – not the courts. Call me today and schedule a consultation so you can have peace of mind knowing that your children will be cared for by the person you want, in the way you want, if anything happens to you.