Helping parents to choose a guardian who can raise their children in the event of an untimely death is one of the most important jobs an estate planning attorney has. Rather than leaving the decision to a judge (who may choose guardians the parents would never want), working with an estate planning attorney and putting the proper legal documentation in place can help you ensure that your children will be looked after in a way you see fit. Parents will want to consider many factors when deciding on a potential guardian, such as:
Raising children can be expensive. Costs of food, clothes, and personal items can cause strain on a family who is not financially equipped to support children. Ideally, your estate plan will include resources that will be set aside for the care of your children, such as proceeds from a life insurance policy or the sale of the family home. But if this is not a reality in your situation, the financial security of your potential guardian is something to keep in mind.
Do you have religious or spiritual values that you wish to be passed on to your children? What are your beliefs on discipline? Do you place a strong value on education? The answers to these questions can impact how your children are raised and the values that are instilled in them. If you have strong desires about how your children are to be raised, it’s best to choose a guardian whose values and belief systems closely mirror your own.
Bond with the Child
Do your children know the person you may choose as guardian? Do they like this person? Children who have lost a parent can be fragile and vulnerable. They will need the comfort of someone they already love, trust, and respect.
Willingness and Ability
Does your potential guardian want to care for your children? In the aftermath of your death, will this person be emotionally capable of being strong for your children? Don’t assume you know the answer to this question; instead, ask your potential guardian if they would be willing to accept the job if called upon.
In addition to helping you with all the legal documentation to appoint a guardian for your children, an estate planning attorney can also help you create trusts to help your children financially in the future. Trusts can be set up to dispense in all sorts of ways, from monthly stipends for basic care to educational allowances that payout for college. Once you’ve thoroughly considered the subject, give our attorneys a call and let us help you secure your children’s future.