How Do You Choose the Right Guardian for Your Children?
Each day, almost 10,000 children around the world are orphaned. Though no parent likes to think about the idea of leaving their child, planning for the worst can ensure your family stays safe no matter what happens. When selecting a guardian for your kids, there are a few specific things you should take into account.
Age and Health of the Guardian
For many people, their first, instinctive choice for a guardian is their parents. While it is understandable to want the person who raised you to care for your children, it is not always a good choice. Carefully consider the age and overall health of your potential guardian. Ideally, they should be old enough to maturely raise children while still young enough to have the energy for the task. Picking a healthy guardian is important because you do not want children who have gone through the trauma of losing a parent to also lose their next parental figures.
The ideal legal guardian is usually someone who can care for your children without the guardian or the children having to move. This helps cut back on upheaval during a difficult time and allows your children to stay in a familiar environment. You may also want to consider the guardian’s living situation and determine if their home is suitable for children or if they are willing to move.
Willingness to Care for Children
One thing estate planning litigation lawyers repeatedly stress when discussing how to choose a guardian is that you should never surprise someone with guardianship of a child. The person you pick as a guardian should be a person who is comfortable with the idea of raising your children. You never want a guardian who will treat your kids as a burden or inconvenience.
Remember that the guardian will not just be caring for your child’s physical and social wellbeing. They will also be involved in managing the money you left for your child. Therefore, you need a guardian who has a decent head for finances or a willingness to get professional advice. If your preferred guardian would be disastrous with your child’s money, talk to an estate planning litigation lawyer. It can be possible to divide up duties, naming a separate person as financial guardian.
Compatibility With Your Personal Beliefs
If you have strongly held views about how your children should be raised, it is a good idea to find a guardian who agrees with you. Make sure the guardian is on board with your general religious beliefs, schooling preferences, and other important views if possible. Though you and the guardian do not need to be in agreement about every little thing, it is a good idea to find a guardian who will not uproot your child’s life by forcing dramatically different child-rearing practices on the child.
Ability to Raise Children
No matter how well-meaning a guardian is, some may simply be unable to handle children. For example, a guardian with a high-stress job that requires a lot of traveling probably cannot care for a toddler. Think about things like the person’s career, house size, and current number of children before selecting them as guardian. Keep in mind that their current status does not necessarily indicate their ability to raise children. You may be able to talk to your preferred guardian about their willingness to change their lifestyle and set up your estate in a way that equips them to raise your children.
When you are searching for a guardian, it is a good idea to consult with an estate planning lawyer like The Knee Law Firm. We have helped guide many Hackensack families through the guardianship process, so we can provide useful advice for all sorts of situations. Our team also assists with other parts of estate planning including setting up trusts, drafting wills, and writing medical power of attorney documents. Call (201) 996-1200 or email us to schedule a consultation today.