Naming a guardian for minor children is one of the most critical decisions parents can make during the estate planning process. This decision helps to ensure that, in the event of both parents’ untimely death or incapacitation, their children will be cared for by someone they trust and who shares their values and parenting style.
It isn’t always easy to determine who should serve in this role. Therefore, parents who are in the process of naming a guardian may benefit from considering the following.
Who are they and what do they value?
If you need to name a guardian for your children, you’ll want to choose someone whose parenting style, values and religious/spiritual beliefs align closely with your own. It’s essential that the guardian can maintain the kind of “normalcy” and stability in their upbringing that you want most for your kids.
You’ll also want to consider a prospective guardian’s current life situation, including their age, health, financial stability and willingness to take on the responsibility of raising your children. It’s crucial that the guardian is physically and financially capable of providing for your children’s needs.
Finally, location may ultimately play a significant role in your decision. Naming a guardian who lives nearby can help minimize disruption in your children’s lives, allowing them to stay in the same schools and maintain their social connections may be important to you. Additionally, choosing a family member might help preserve familial bonds.
Before finalizing your decision, have an open and honest conversation with a potential guardian. Ensure they are willing and able to take on the responsibility. This discussion can also help clarify your expectations and their willingness to follow your wishes regarding your children’s upbringing.