When you’re doing your estate planning, you may decide to pick a guardian for your children. This is a common tactic for relatively young couples who may be new parents and who are thinking of estate planning as something that can protect their children, not just pass on their assets.
But what do you look for in a guardian? It’s important to choose the right person. This will be unique in every case, of course, but there are some things you may want to consider.
Is it affordable?
Start by reminding yourself that someone being willing to be a guardian may not be enough. If that person already has a large family or doesn’t have a high income, you have to ask if they could reasonably afford to raise your child.
Do they have similar beliefs and goals?
You may want to look for someone who is very similar to you, especially when considering religious or cultural connotations. But you also want to think about things like the value they put on education or how involved they will try to be in the child’s life. Try to find someone similar to you so that it won’t be a shock for the children, and so that you know they’ll be raised the way that you intended.
Talk to older children
You don’t necessarily have to do what your children would prefer in a case like this. You’re their parent, and you get to make the decisions for your own estate plan. But, if you have older children, it can be beneficial to talk with them and get their input. Is there someone that they would prefer? Is there anyone that they definitely wouldn’t want you to choose? For a teenager, this would have a massive impact on their life, so getting their input can help you make your decision.
Consider their own health
Finally, just remind yourself that raising a child can be a difficult task and someone needs to be healthy, both physically and mentally. This is important to mention because many young couples are tempted to choose the children’s grandparents as guardians, but health complications could make this unwise. Grandparents may be thrilled to be part of the child’s life, but can they really raise them for years or even decades?
Once you find the right person to be the guardian for your children, think about the steps needed to set up your estate plan.