No parent wants to think about what would happen to their children if both parents died prematurely and were not able to raise their children. Without the proper plan in place, a court will make that decision for you. Poor planning could lead to relatives arguing in court over who gets your children. Or they could agree on someone other than the people you would have chosen. That is why it is critical that you nominate a guardian now. Here are some tips to help you make that decision.

  • Start with a big list. Think beyond the obvious choices. You are not limited to immediate family members. The key is to pick the best person for raising your children. Consider extended family, such as cousins, aunts, and uncles. Friends can make excellent guardians as well.

  • What is most important? There are many factors to consider. What matters the most to you? Think about parenting styles, moral values, religious beliefs, educational values, child-rearing philosophy, and physical wellbeing. Do they have other children? What is their relationship to your children? Your preferred guardian should score high in as many categories as possible.

  • Do not overly worry about finances. Get life insurance. You should have life insurance, with the proceeds going to your living trust. Do not eliminate someone from consideration solely because they have a small house or apartment. You can help ease the financial burden with what you leave.

  • Practical considerations. How would your children fit in with your preferred guardian’s family? Do they live in the same school district? Same city? Do they have young children of their own? If so, would your kids get along with their kids? If you select a married couple, what happens if they divorce?

  • Communicate. Talk to the people you are considering. Make sure they would be willing to serve as guardian if necessary. Communicate with your children if they are old enough to express their thoughts. In what would surely be a stressful situation, it is important not to spring big and unexpected surprises on anyone, including the potential guardian as well as your children.

  • Plan. Again, it is not easy to think of anyone else raising your children. Start planning ahead now. For more information on how to appoint a guardian for your children, contact me to set up an appointment to discuss your family’s needs.