Planning for the future involves making some difficult decisions, especially when it comes to your children’s well-being. A necessary part of estate planning involves selecting a guardian and a backup guardian for your children.
You will trust the care of your children to these individuals should something unforeseen happen to you. For this reason, there are several factors that can help determine who you want to take on the role of a guardian.
Selecting a guardian
A guardian is an individual or individuals who are legally responsible for a child if both parents pass away or are unable to care for them. The chosen guardian steps into the role of a parent, providing care and making decisions related to education, healthcare and more.
Choosing a guardian involves considering the potential guardian’s values, lifestyle, age, health, location and willingness to assume the role. It is essential to select someone who aligns with your parenting style and values, is physically capable of raising children and is willing to take on this responsibility.
Choosing a backup guardian
In addition to a primary guardian, choose a backup guardian so that there is a plan B should the primary guardian be unable to fulfill their duties. The same criteria should apply to both guardians.
Discussing your choice with your children
If your children are old enough, involve them in the conversation about who their guardian might be. While the ultimate decision is yours, listening to their input can provide valuable insight into their comfort levels with potential guardians.
Recording your decisions
After making your decision, you must formalize it. This typically involves specifying your choice in a legal document, such as a will or trust.
When you go through the estate planning process, you should choose both a guardian and a backup guardian. This will give you peace of mind that your children will get the care they need if something happens to you.