If you have minor children, then your estate plan should include a plan for them. This includes designating a guardian to care for your children should you pass away while they are still minors.
Here are 5 things to consider when designating a guardian for your child.
Roles of the guardian.
There are two types of guardian: (1) guardian of the estate and (2) guardian of the person. The guardian of the estate manages the property owned by the child while the guardian of the person acts in place of the parent of the child, caring for them on a day-to-day basis and making life decisions for them. You might have the same person in both roles or you might choose different people to act in each role. Regardless, you should consider who will be the best fit, given the responsibilities; you certainly wouldn’t want to choose someone who is not able to manage money properly to act as the guardian of the estate. However, they may be a great fit as guardian of the person.
If you have a large family, then you may want to appoint different guardians for different children. This, of course, can come with downsides, but it may ease the burden on each guardian and allow them to be more effective. You will also want to consider having backup guardians should your first choice be unable or unwilling to serve as guardian for your children.
Consider their values.
You will want to choose someone who has values similar to yours. Remember, this person will be responsible for raising your children. If you’re considering appointing someone as your child’s guardian, then have an upfront and honest conversation with them about how they would raise your children. Choosing someone with similar values will also make the transition easier on your children.
Don’t be swayed by family members’ feelings. The well-being of your children is, of course, more important than hurting someone’s feelings. If you are concerned about hurting someone’s feelings, then you can find another way for them to remain in your child’s life without having to take on the full responsibility that comes with serving as guardian.
Put your decisions into a legal document.
While having conversations with your family and the individuals you choose to appoint as guardian is great, they mean nothing if you don’t document them. If you don’t put your wishes into a valid legal document, such as a will, then the courts will be forced to decide who should care for your children.
Still not sure whom to appoint as guardian for your children? That’s what we are for. Give us a call at 858-564-7090 or email [email protected], and we will help you formulate a plan to ensure the well-being of your children.