Worley Elder Law
Choosing a Champion for Your Children
What to consider when naming a Guardian for your minor children.
Protecting your assets for the benefit of those you leave behind is one of the main points of establishing your estate plan. However, the most important thing you protect with your estate plan is your children.
This protection is achieved by naming a guardian who will step in for the benefit of your children if you are unable to. The guardian usually works in tandem with your named Trustee to ensure your children receive the care they need. In other words, the sole focus of the person you name as guardian is the welfare of your children.
How do you choose who to name?
Choosing to name a guardian for your children is undoubtedly an emotional process for you as parents to make together. Your children are precious, and your options are limited. But not deciding ahead of time could result in a judge-who doesn’t know you or your kids- choosing the guardian for you. And their choice, may not have been your choice- had you not skipped naming a guardian before it was too late.
But that won’t be the case for you because you’re reading this, you will follow through and be prepared!
To help you get the conversation started, here are a few questions you can asks yourselves:
1. Where does the proposed guardian live?
Will moving to live with the guardian remove your children from their current school district
and friends? What effect will a move have on your kids emotionally?
2. What do we know about each candidate and how will those facts affect our kids?
List things like the guardian’s age (they should be a legal adult), marital status, and lifestyle.
What is their financial status? Do they already have children, if so, how old are their
children? What are their moral or religious beliefs? Can they provide the same standard of
living that you would provide? Do your kids already know them, like them?
3. Does the proposed guardian believe in similar parenting methods to ones we use?
For example, would they use corporal punishment? Do they give “time outs”?
4. Does your child have any special physical or emotional needs that might affect the
guardian’s ability to care for them?
5. Are you going to name the guardian as the Trustee of your kids’ trust? If not, will the
guardian work well with the Trustee you’ve chosen?
Once you’ve decided who you would like to appoint, the next step to take is to contact them and ask if they will be willing to be the guardian for your children. Make sure they are willing and able to take on such an important role in your kids’ lives if called upon to do so. As with all important roles, we also recommend naming an alternate, just in case your first choice is unavailable for any reason.
The Key Takeaways
· No one wants to think about needing someone else to care for your kids; but failing to do so could
result in someone else choosing for you.
· Consider the proposed guardian’s age, marital status, lifestyle, and financial status.
· Consider whether your kids will have to move away from friends and their school.
· Talk to those you are considering- not all surprise are good ones.
· Always have more than one person selected, just in case your first choice is unable to serve.
We know this is not an easy conversation or decision to make. We are here to help you understand the importance of your decision and calm your concerns. Contact us today to put your mind at ease knowing your children are protected.