If you have any minor children, it’s wise to name a guardian in your estate plan. Should something happen to both you and your spouse, the guardian will step in and take care of your kids until they reach adulthood.
Because the guardian could end up playing a pivotal role in your children’s lives, it’s important to give the decision considerable thought. While no parent wants to imagine a time when they’re not around for their kids, taking the time to choose the best person to serve as their replacement will provide peace of mind.
Since every family dynamic is unique, there’s no single universal party who can step up and assume guardianship. Instead, it’s up to parents to consider a variety of factors to determine who in their lives should take on the role.
Let’s take a look at some of the most important factors to consider when naming a guardian for your children:
Ideally, the guardian you name will already have a close relationship with your kids. The more comfortable your children are with the individual you choose, the easier the transition will be.
If you’re torn between a sibling who lives nearby, for example, and one who lives on the other side of the country, the former might be the better choice, assuming they see the kids a lot more often.
Not everyone is equipped to take care of children. Some people in your life might have incredibly demanding careers, for example, that take them away from home for weeks or months at a time. Unless they happen to be married to someone who doesn’t travel for work, such individuals probably won’t be the best guardians.
Taking care of children is a huge responsibility. Before you name a guardian in your estate planning documents, talk to the individual whom you’re considering to confirm they’re up for the task. Are they willing to step up and alter their everyday life in a major way if the need ever arose?
If the person whom you picked is close to your family, chances are they’ll consider it an honor. They may still have valid concerns, however, like finances or housing.
Thankfully, there are ways to address such concerns. You can purchase life insurance for both you and your spouse, for example, and you can make sure to leave your family home to the guardian if something happens to both of you. These kinds of arrangements will make the transition much easier for all parties involved and will allow the guardian to focus on caring for your kids, rather than stressing about making ends meet.
When you’re ready to name a guardian for your children, turn to Ball Eggleston. Since 1950, our firm has been helping families prepare for all eventualities. Call (765) 742-9046 or fill out our Online Contact Form to schedule an appointment with a family lawyer in Lafayette. The content of this blog is intended to be general and informational in nature. It is advertising material and is not intended to be, nor is it, legal advice to or for any particular person, case, or circumstance. Each situation is different, and you should consult an attorney if you have any questions about your situation.