Choosing the Right Guardian

You are the best person to raise your children. When a young family creates an estate plan, they have to decide the second-best person to raise their children. Appointing a guarding is often the toughest choice in creating an estate plan. Sometimes no one stands out as the ideal choice. Sometimes several family members want to serve and you don't want to hurt their feelings.

The best approach is to choose a guardian who minimizes changes to your children's lives. To make the right decision, focus on what is best for your child. The key is to not add to the difficulty of losing you by choosing someone who changes your children's lives more than necessary. We recommend considering three criteria.

Close Relationships

Choose a guardian with a constant, close and loving relationship to your children. Having a close connection to their guardian should create familiarity and security for your children and help them adjust to life without you.

Values

Choose a guardian whose values and parenting style closely mirror your own. You want someone who'll raise your children as you would have.

Location

Choose a guardian who lives nearby. Ideally you'll want your children to attend the same schools and church and have the same friends. A consistent community provides your child with continued support.

Making this decision now has many benefits. By deciding now, you can talk to your potential guardians about your wishes.

For example, would your choice of guardian be willing to relocate for the sake of maintaining a consistent life for your children? Would the guardian be willing to imitate your parenting style after you're gone? By making this choice yourself you prevent a judge from deciding for you when the judge is not familiar with your children or your values. You also avoid any potential arguments among family members after you're gone.

Thankfully, we very seldom encounter situations where both parents die at the same time. But it's still worth planning for because this may be your final act as a parent.

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