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How to appoint guardians for your children

On Behalf of | Apr 10, 2024 | Estate Planning |

As parents, you want what is best for your kids, even if the unforeseeable happens. Perhaps, especially if the unforeseeable happens. Most parents want to make sure their kids are going to be okay if something happens to them and one part of that is by appointing guardians in their estate plans.

Here is a simple guide for you, parents, who have minor children and want to secure their future by appointing a guardian or guardians for them in your estate plan.

Understand the role

The first thing to keep in mind is what a guardian is. You choose a guardian to take care of your kids if you cannot do so. That person or people will provide for their daily needs and make important decisions about their upbringing until they reach adulthood.

Choose the right person or people

Think carefully about who to choose for a guardian. Someone who is your friend today but who you have not known for a long time may seem tempting to choose as a guardian, but in reality, if there is no longevity in the relationship, you might not know them well enough to ensure your kids will be safe.

Important considerations

Think about what is most important to you as it relates to your childrearing practices and beliefs.

  • Does this person have your parenting style?
  • Do they have an established relationship with your children?
  • What do your kids think about them?
  • Are they capable of providing for your children to the best of their ability?
  • Are they willing and do they want to, understanding the weight of the commitment?

These questions can help guide you in selecting the person or people you will ultimately choose to be your child’s guardian.

It can be a couple or an individual, it can be a family member or a close friend. The most important thing is that they represent what you believe and that your children are safe with them.

Backup guardians

Life is unpredictable and even if you have a backup plan, you may need a backup plan in case your backup plan fails. It is wise to nominate backup guardians just in case your first choice is unable to fulfill the role for any reason.

Include designations in your will

Make sure to include guardianship designations in your will, including the specific names of the people you want to appoint, any backup guardians and any preferences you may request.

Even if you are not around and they become guardians, they will take over the decision-making process. Most of the time, the guardians parents select are people who will respect their wishes.

Review and update

As life changes, so can your relationships, and you may have to review your guardianship designations and update them throughout your child’s life. That’s a normal part of the process and it is important to keep your will and estate planning documents up-to-date.

You want everything in your estate plan to speak for your current decisions and preferences, not those you had twenty years ago.

Appointing guardians for your kids can be difficult emotionally and it is never easy to make a decision like this. After all, most parents want to raise their kids and believe they know what is best for them. Remember, however, that life happens and it is better to have a plan in place, in case something happens to you, than to not have a plan at all.