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Considerations for Choosing Your Children's Guardians



One of the most important functions of a will is the naming of a guardian for young children in the event of the death of the parents. In addition to being important, this item can be one of the most difficult to decide upon. How can you decide who should raise your children if you cannot? Answering this difficult question is probably the one of the most common causes for procrastination when it comes to having a will drawn up.

Many Look to Relatives as Guardians

Many look to relatives to serve as guardians. However, you should be sure of factors other than familial relationships before you ask someone to be a guardian. The first thing to do is to confirm that the person is willing to be a guardian for your child. No one should ever be surprised at the reading of the will with learning he or she is a guardian. Talk to the person and obtain his or her agreement beforehand.

Other Considerations for Potential Guardians

The potential guardian must have enough money, either from what you will leave from your estate or from his or her own funds to raise your children. You do not want to put your children into a position of possible neglect, nor do you want to burden someone with being a guardian if that person does not have the resources to do it. Time is also an important consideration in guardianship. A well-funded person who does not have time for children due to other demands can be a poor choice.

Geographic location should also be considered. The ideal choice would be a person who will be able to keep your children in the same neighborhood and school system so that they can maintain friends. Does the potential guardian have children near in age to your kids? How do they get along?

Age is also an important consideration. All guardians must be at least 18 years old. A guardian who will be there until your children is past college age is preferable. The guardian should also be able to withstand the physical rigors of parenting. Grandma and Grandpa may love your children dearly, but not be physically able to be guardians. Other important issues for consideration are moral beliefs. Will the guardian raise your kids they way you would want them to be raised?

An experienced trusts and estates attorney can provide you with guidance and help in selecting the right guardian for your children.