One of the most crucial duties of an estate plan is to establish guardianship for any minor children in your care. Should the unthinkable happen, the person you name will step in to provide essential care for your dependent children.
Accordingly, choosing a guardian for your child is a major decision, one that you must take seriously. This guide explains how to make the best decision by focusing on important qualities.
Look beyond family members
Having a trusted family member is ideal when selecting a guardian, but not all people have that luxury. You may have a small family and lack worthy candidates. You may also be at odds with your family and concerned about their child-rearing abilities. In this case, do not hesitate to seek out a trusted friend. Provided this person is a good selection and will offer love and affection to your child, it does not matter that you are not related by blood.
Consider the age of the selection
While an elderly friend or family member might be a great choice in your eyes, their age could pose some challenges. For instance, they may not be capable of handling the many tough parental duties that await them in a few years. They may also experience health setbacks as they get older, which can limit their abilities as well. In general, it is best to choose someone close to your own age to ensure they can fulfill their responsibilities.
Ask your child for their guidance
If you have an older tween or teen child, you can also consult with them for their opinion. Emphasize that it is unlikely that anything will happen to you and your spouse, but that this process offers peace of mind if it does. While you are ultimately responsible for the final decision, getting your child’s input might help narrow down your selection.
Once you have made a decision, contact the person right away to get their input. Keep in mind that guardianship is a major responsibility, one that not all people are ready for you. You can also consider some backup options in case your first choice is not available.