You don’t expect to die when your children are still young, so you may think that there’s “always tomorrow” to plan your estate and create a will that includes naming a guardian. But you know what? You can’t wait. Do it, do it, do it!
Death can strike unexpectedly in a number of ways including from a food allergy, an automobile accident, a fall or a failed surgery. That’s why selecting a guardian for your minor children is so important and should be included in your will. Promptly.
Trust, comfort and agreement
Guardians have custody of the children and make daily life decisions for them in areas that may include where they will live, attend school, get medical care and spend their summer camps. Candidates may include relatives, friends and even older siblings of your children. Ideally, there should be an existing level of comfort and trust between the prospective guardian and children.
But you want to make sure that you will find a guardian who would likely raise the child in a similar manner as you have raised them. That’s why it’s vital that you and your spouse are in agreement.
Matters that need to be addressed
Here are a few things to address during your decision in choosing a guardian:
· Consider naming more than one guardian, and rank them. Unexpected situations may surface. What if your some candidates become permanently disabled or suffer some tragedy and are unable to care for your children? Name as many as four alternatives.
· When choosing a guardian, you must ask the candidates if they would be willing to do so. Get their permission.
· What if the guardian couple divorces or one of them dies? You must consider life situations that may affect anyone. The guardian may be looking after your children for as much as 18 years. Will just one person suffice in raising them?
· Financial resources of the guardian must be considered, too. You’ve likely chosen them because they have a stable home, a solid parental style and share your values. However, they may not have the financial wherewithal to care for your kids. So the financial care is really up to you. Ensure that you have enough money that can be set aside to support your children.
· If you don’t want certain people to be your children’s guardian, make your wishes known in your will. This will address any issues if your guardianship choice is challenged.
· Once you have everything finalized to your satisfaction, make the decision official and put it in your will.
Nobody wants to think about their mortality, but death is really a part of life. Preparing for unexpected situations is a component of estate planning, too. Addressing guardianship matters in your will should clarify your decision as to how and where you want your children raised.