Janssen Law, PLC

How do I choose a guardian for my child?

If you are creating an estate plan and have minor children, one of your concerns will be creating a guardianship for your children. A guardian, according to Parenting, is the person who will take custody of your children in the event of your death. When you have children, it is essential to choose a guardian as soon as possible so there is not trouble if you were to pass away. Having it legalized can minimize many issues and ensure your child has the smoothest possible transition after such a devastating situation.

Choosing a guardian, though, is often marred by personal feelings and disagreements. You and your spouse should work together to choose the person. There are many considerations to make. Also, the person does not have to be related to you. If you express in a legal document that you wish your child to be cared for by a specific person, the actual relationship does not matter. Your wishes are legally binding.

It is a good idea to talk with the person you have chosen as a guardian beforehand. While someone may be honored you would choose him or her, that does not always mean he or she will agree to do it. Taking on the responsibility of a child who just lost his or her parents is a huge deal. Not everyone will be cut out for it or able to do it.

You should choose someone you trust. It should be someone your child knows well, too. Do not choose an old college friend your child has never met. Consider your child's feelings and ensure he or she would be happy living with the person you choose.

Finally, review your choice often. Update your estate plan as your life circumstance change and be sure to check if the guardian is still the best choice. This information is only intended to educate and should not be interpreted as legal advice.

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