Once you have children, you should develop a plan for their care after your death. The first step in doing so is deciding who you should name as a guardian.
Part of your estate plan should include a will. This document serves many functions, including naming a guardian to care for your minor children. This is an important decision and carries many ramifications, so you may want to consider all the options at your disposal.
Does family always make sense?
The first choice for many parents is appointing a guardian who shares a close kinship with the children. While this works out in many cases, in some ways, it does not. Consider your parents, for instance. If they are early in retirement, they may not have the physical stamina to care for young children. On the other hand, you may have an older child who you believe is the right fit. However, you do not want to appoint someone too young and unestablished, whether a sibling or not.
What to consider when deciding?
You do not need to choose a close relative, and you do not need to explain your reasons for not doing so. You do, however, need to keep several factors in mind when picking a guardian:
- Parenting style
- Religious differences
- Current bond with the kids
- Financial stability
Always talk to the person or persons you intend to name to raise your children in the event of your death. Keep an open mind, and do not take offense if he or she politely declines your request. You want to choose a guardian that works for your children, not have that responsibility hoisted on someone.