Estate Planning Law
Naming a Guardian for Your Children
Are you, like many parents, overwhelmed thinking about appointing a guardian for your children? Should something happen to you, your choice of a guardian will be the single most important decision that you make for your children. The guardian will take over the day to day aspects of parenting your children. It is the guardian who will accompany the children to doctor’s appointments, attend teacher conferences, cheer at sports games and advise the children about their future. While it is certainly best if you, as the children’s parent can be there to do all of that, it is important that you pick the very best person that you can to do all of those things if you are unable to do so.
Estate law varies from state to state, and estate planning situations can get complicated quickly. If you name your guardian in your will then you will need to make sure that the will is properly executed according to the laws of your state. Low-cost do-it-yourself (D.I.Y.) wills, living wills, and powers of attorney are possible in some simple cases and can be found on our companion site, FindLaw.com.
You may also want to consult with an estate planning attorney in your area for advice on your individual situation. An attorney will help you make sure that your will is valid and that the person you want to become your children’s guardian will be legally able to do so.
How to Pick a Guardian for Your Children
- Lifestyle: consider whether the person’s career and other interests can easily accommodate a child or whether the person would be willing to make the necessary modifications
- Willingness to Raise your Children: it is best to have a frank conversation with the person whom you want to be the guardian of your children to determine if the person wants that responsibility and would be willing to act as the guardian should the need arise.
- Health and Other Responsibilities: think about whether the person is in good health and physically able to care for children. Also consider whether the person has other children for whom he or she is responsible and how your child will fit in with the group.
- Religion: some people chose a guardian who is the same religion as the children so that holidays and milestones can be celebrated together and values can be shared.
- Priorities: think about your priorities for your children. Some parents consider education a priority, for example. Does the guardian whom you are considering share your priorities?
How to Make Sure that Your Choice of Guardian is Legally Enforceable
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