If you have minor children, one of the most important aspects of any estate plan is going to be the naming of a legal guardian. For many people, this can be a very difficult decision. If both parents die or become incapacitated, however, having a guardian named will help ensure your children are properly taken care of without delay. The following six things should be considered when choosing who to name as guardian.
While money is far from the most important thing, it is a factor to consider. Does the person you are naming as guardian have the financial means to support them? Depending on your financial situation, it is possible you could minimize the importance here by passing on money from your estate or a life insurance policy to help take care of the kids.
Choosing a guardian who shares your values is important for most people. This can mean different things to different people. For many people, choosing a guardian who has the same religious beliefs is very important. Even political opinions can be factored in when finding the right guardian.
Keeping Kids Together
If you have multiple children, make sure that the guardian you choose will be able to take them all in. This is an especially big concern if you have a large family. Keeping siblings together is essential for most parents, so it should be thought about when choosing a guardian.
Willingness of Guardians
While this one should seem obvious, it is all too often overlooked. Talking with a potential guardian and seeing if they are willing to take on the responsibility of raising your children is very important. This should be a frank and honest conversation where you take the time to ensure they really understand what would occur.
Location of the Guardians
When children lose their parents, it can be quite devastating. Their whole world feels like it is being turned upside down. If you have chosen a guardian who lives out of state, this will add a whole new layer of change to an already overwhelming situation. Most people will want to choose a guardian who lives nearby so their kids don't need to lose all their friends, change schools, and have other areas of their life adjusted after losing their parents. If your chosen guardian decides to move out of state, it may be a good time to review your estate plan.
Health of the Guardians
Looking at the overall health of potential guardians is a good idea. While it is impossible to guarantee there won't be any health issues, the last thing you want to do is place your children with someone who will be unable to care for them, or worse, may pass away while they are still young.
Getting Your Estate in Order
Choosing a legal guardian for your children is just one of many pieces to a comprehensive estate plan. Estate planning is something that everyone should do, no matter your age. Whether you want to start an estate plan for the first time, or you're looking to have a plan modified, please get in touch with The Tyra Law Firm to go over all your options.