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Elder Planning Isn't Just For The Elderly

What do you need to know about guardianship?

In addition to establishing a plan for property and assets, wills also allow you to select a guardian for minor children in your care. If you fail to specify a guardian, the court will do so on your behalf.

While the court keeps the best interests of the child in mind when making a selection, virtually all parents would rather choose a guardian on their own. Here are a few things to consider when making your decision.

Feel free to look beyond family

Most people select a family member to provide care for their children in case the unthinkable happens. However, close friends can also be great guardians when they have a loving and supportive relationship with a child. What is most important is that the person has certain key qualities, such as responsibility, compassion, and dedication.

Have a back-up choice in mind

A back-up guardian provides peace of mind in case your first selection is not available when needed. It also ensures that the decision is not left to the courts. Like your primary guardian, the back-up can be a family member or a close friend of the family who exhibits the right qualities.

Consider the age of the person

While picking your own parents as guardians may seem like the best idea, age is an important aspect to consider. In the event something happens years down the line, elderly loved ones may not be able to provide care. The best selection will be a person who is relatively close to you in age, which ensures they can fulfill their duties if the time comes.

It is important to inform the person you select as soon as possible. Serving as guardian is a major responsibility, and not all people will have the capability to do so. By having an open and honest conversation, you can confidently move to the next step in the process.

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