The thought of not being able to see your children grow up is certainly difficult to imagine. However, life is full of uncertainties and it’s important to plan for the unexpected. In your will, it’s important to choose a guardian to look after your kids if you die unexpectedly. Otherwise, the court will make their decision for you. Here are some tips for choosing a guardian for your children:
Don’t Limit Your Choices to Family Members
While certain family members would make great guardians, that doesn’t mean you can’t consider guardians outside of your family. If you, for example, have a close friend who you’ve known for years and know that person would be a great parent to your children, consider appointing that person as a guardian.
Before you choose a guardian for your children, take a moment to think about that person’s values. Do they closely match your values? It’s a good idea to choose a guardian who shares your values in regards to religion, morals, education and child rearing. For instance, if you are a religious person and take your children to church, you may want to choose a guardian who also values religion.
Look at Personality Traits
It’s also important to choose a guardian who possesses certain personality traits. For instance, if you have very young children, you may want to pick a guardian who has a lot of patience. Little kids can be quite a handful and you want to choose a guardian who can handle them at their best and worst. Other important personality traits to consider may include compassion, respectfulness and selflessness.
Don’t Get Hung Up on Finances
Don’t cut out a potentially good guardian if he or she isn’t as financially well off as you’d like. You can leave the necessary finances for your children in your will, so you know that they will have everything they need.
Choose a Backup Guardian
If possible, it is a good idea to choose a backup guardian in case the original guardian can’t fulfill his or her duties anymore. For example, if the original guardian you choose becomes physically ill and will no longer be able to take care of your kids, you will have a peace of mind that you have someone else who can fill the role.
Get Your Children’s Input
If your children are old enough to understand, ask them for their input. Talk to them about the people you’re considering appointing as their guardian and ensure that your kids are fine with it. It’s always important to choose a guardian who your kids feel comfortable with.
If you follow these tips, you will have an easier time choosing an appropriate guardian for your kids. If you have any other questions regarding your will, talk to an experienced estate planning lawyer. Speaking to an estate planning lawyer Phoenix, AZ residents rely on may be beneficial and many offer free initial consultations, so it doesn’t hurt to speak to one.
Thank you to our friends and contributors at Kamper Estrada, LLP for their insight into estate planning and children.