Selecting the Right Guardian for Your Minor Child

May 17, 2018

Selecting a guardian for minor children can be very difficult. What are some factors you should consider when selecting guardians for your minor child?

Parents worry about everything when it comes to their children. Feeding them the best foods, keeping them safe and healthy, providing them with tools to help them learn and develop. BUT, what most parents don’t do very well is naming the right guardian for their minor children. Most simply select family because they are family.

The guardian you choose for your minor children will take care of your child and make decisions regarding his or her care, health, education, and general well-being. Here are a few tips on selecting a guardian:

  1. Think in terms of the next 3-7 years.

Parents often have a difficult time choosing a guardian for a child because they are focused on the distant future. For example, they would want grandmother to take care of their child, but they do not necessarily choose the grandmother because in their mind, they envision their parents (grandmother) having passed before them. Rather, you should focus on the immediate future and select someone who you would want to care for their minor children in next 3 to 7 years. So for example, if grandmother is the best choice, choose her and name alternates. Whether she goes before you or after should not be in the equation.

  1. Your selection is not permanent.

Your selection is not set in stone. If you change your mind, you can easily change your guardianship designations. Put your best choice down and reevaluate later.

  1. Name alternates.

Always name at least 2 alternate guardians in case the one you name is unable to do the job. Situations change. If your guardian (for one reason or another) cannot accept her guardianship, your alternate will be called for the job, so make sure you name as many alternates at possible, at least 2.

  1. Keep practical details in mind.

When selecting a guardian consider geography, religion, education, and parenting style. You may want an aunt to take care of your children, but the fact that she lives in another state might be something to take into consideration because this means your children will be uprooted from their community and have to move to a new state.

  1. Coordinate child’s finances.

Do you want the guardian you name to be in charge of your child’s finances as well? Often times, the person that cares for your children may not be the same person you want to name as the person that controls your child’s money.  Regardless, this question should be addressed when planning your estate as this step is an important part of your estate planning.

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