Proper estate planning is crucial to safeguard your assets after you are gone. However, it can also benefit your family members, especially your children.
Wills also allow you to choose a guardian for any minors in your care. Without this input, the court will make the decision on your behalf. While the court will keep the best interests of your child in mind during the process, most parents would much rather make the decision on their own. Here are a few things to consider when deciding.
Look to close family and friends first
Close loved ones who already play an important role in your child’s life are the top choices for guardian. In addition to loving bonds, these people should also exhibit responsibility in all areas of their lives. If the selection already has children, consider their own parenting style and relationship with their kids. Keep in mind that the choice does not have to be a member of your family, it can also be a close, personal friend that you trust.
Discuss the matter with your child
Very young children will lack an understanding of the process, but you should discuss the matter with older kids mature enough to have the conversation. Explain why choosing a guardian is essential and how it will benefit your child in the event the unthinkable happens. Stress that it is unlikely that the situation will occur, but you must prepare in case it does. You should also share your selection with your child to get their thoughts.
Have a conversation with your choice
Assuming responsibility for a minor child is a big decision. Even if the person you pick cares about you and your family deeply, they might not be up to the task. As a result, you must talk to the person to get their input. You may also need to give them a little time to think the decision over.
Once you have made a decision and the guardian agrees, the process is not over. As your child grows and life progresses, consider the selection again to determine whether it meets your needs. Much like other aspects of your estate plan, you may need to update your guardian selection some time in the future.