Your children depend on you for guidance and the basic necessities of life. If anything were to happen to you, they could wind up at the mercy of the state or other family members who may not put their best interests first.
One of the most important things you can do as a parent is put protections in place for your children in case something happens to you. Naming a guardian in your estate plan ensures that there is someone to take care of your kids if you can’t be there for them. How do you choose the right guardian for your children?
Choose someone responsible whom you trust
The person you select does not need to already be your child’s best friend. They need to be someone who is capable of assuming parental authority and maintaining structure. You want to pick someone who has a history of responsible behavior and the ability to stand up to the pressure and manipulation that children sometimes use to get what they want. It’s also important that they are okay with accepting such a major responsibility.
Choose someone young enough to be there until your children become adults
Your parents or even a beloved aunt might seem like a good choice for guardian, but the risk is there that they will die before you do. Picking someone who is both responsible and young enough to be able to care for your children until they’re grown will give them greater stability and ensure that the person you choose is capable of fulfilling their crucial role.
Naming a guardian is only one of multiple necessary steps that you will need to take as a parent to protect your children in your estate plan. The sooner you do, the sooner you have the peace of mind that comes from knowing your children will have support no matter what happens.