• Who Should Serve as Guardians for my Children should I die?
  • October 4, 2010 | Author: D. Scott Berry
  • Law Firm: Berry Law Offices - Princeton Office
  • Who Should Serve as Guardians for my Children Should I Die?

    When putting together an estate plan, one of the most important functions of your estate is to determine who should act as the guardian for your children in the event of your death. You are able to appoint the individuals you desire to act as your children’s guardians through your will.

    What are my children’s guardian’s responsibilities?

    The guardians you choose will be responsible for your children’s health, education, physical care and welfare until your children are 18. This not only includes providing the basic needs such as food, clothing, shelter and making health care decisions, but also providing love and affection as well as social and emotional guidance. The person or people you nominate as guardians must be individuals in whom you have complete confidence.

    What considerations should I make when choosing a guardian for my children?

    The following are a handful of the factors you should consider when selecting a guardian for your children:

    1.       What is your proposed guardian’s relationship with your children?

    2.       Do your children actually like your proposed guardian?

    3.       What is your proposed guardian’s relationship with their own immediate family?

    4.       Is your proposed guardian in a stable relationship?

    5.       What are your proposed guardian’s religious beliefs and practices?

    6.       What are your proposed guardian’s child rearing techniques?

    7.       What activities do you do with your children? Will your proposed guardian continue those activities?

    8.       Physically, emotionally and financially is your proposed guardian able to undertake raising your children?

    9.       Is your proposed guardian’s house large enough to accommodate your children?

    10.   Where does your proposed guardian live?

    11.   Will your children have easy access to your relatives?

    Once you narrow your list, be sure to talk to the people you would like to nominate to serve as guardians to determine how they'd feel about being named a guardian of your children. Your conversation may reveal feelings and attitudes that will help you make your decision easier.

    You should name at least three successor guardians for your children in case circumstances change or the person who is your first choice is unable to accept the responsibility to serve as guardians. If you choose a couple, make sure to consider what is to occur if the couple divorces or, because of death or incapacity, only one member of the couple can act as a guardian for your children.

    Remember that it is important that you and your spouse agree on your choice. Any disagreement may cause discord later among your family, guardians and/or your children.