Naming a Guardian for Your Child

Jul 9, 2010

If you have a children who are minors then it is very important to name a guardian for them in your Estate Plan. You need to make arrangements so that your child is looked after properly in case both you and the child’s other parent pass away before your child reaches adulthood.

The process of choosing a guardian can be especially difficult. Your attorney may be able to guide you in choosing an apt guardian but here are some basic points to keep in mind:

Where does the guardian live?

In most cases your child would need to move where the guardian lives. Very rarely do adults relocate to look after minor children, so if you don’t want your children to have to move away, you’ll want to select someone who lives near you.

What are the religious, political and moral beliefs of the guardian?

This is probably the most important factor in choosing a guardian for your child. In the unlikely event of your death, you would not want your child to grow up with different values than your own. Guardians will have a great deal of influence over your child, so it’s important to keep their religious, moral and political beliefs in mind while making a selection.

Is the guardian responsible?

Do you think your potential guardian would love your child and look after them properly? Do you think he or she has the right parenting skills? Can the guardian balance discipline and nurturing in a way that will work for your child?

How old is the guardian?

You need to name an adult who is not too old to keep up with your child. You want to make sure that whoever you choose will be physically able to take care of your child. Also, you may want to consider the fact that an older guardian might be out of touch with latest issues relating to parenting and children.

What is the guardian’s family situation?

Consider whether the potential guardian’s family situation would allow him to look after your child properly. Would he be able to give time to your child or does he already have too many personal family responsibilities?

Acceptance by the guardian

Be sure to ask the potential guardian if he would be willing to take on the job. It is no use naming someone without asking them first. Some people might not be ready to shoulder the responsibility.

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