If you are a parent in New York, one of the most important estate planning decisions you make is who will take care of your child if both parents happen to pass away before the minor turns 18. Naming a guardian is challenging and there are many factors that you should consider before making the final pick.
According to Forbes, naming a godparent is not the same as naming a guardian. While a godparent may be important from a religious and/or ceremonial standpoint, a guardian is who you name to basically take over your role. An important consideration is to choose a guardian who has similar values to your own. While it is rare to find the perfect fit, you can rest easier knowing the child will be raised with a shared philosophy about how a parent should be. If at all possible, it is a good idea to choose someone who lives locally so the child does not have to leave other comforts such as school and friends.
FindLaw discusses how financial stability is an important attribute of a potential guardian. If you want your child to have the type of childhood and college life you planned for, the guardian should be able to provide these. Ideally, your trust should be adequate to cover the child’s expenses and you can even direct the trustee how you would like the money to be spent. While it probably makes sense, choose a guardian who is not only of an age in which he or she will live a long life but also someone whose lifestyle fits with raising a child.
While deciding on a guardian, make sure you have conversations with whom you are considering. If the person you prefer chooses not to do it, you will then have the time and ability to choose someone who does.