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Blog: Advice on How to Choose a Guardian for Your Child

There are important considerations when choosing a guardian for children.

One of the most important jobs of an estate planning attorney is to help parents choose the right guardian for their children. This is the person (or people) designated by you to care for your minor children if you should die before they become adults. Working with an estate attorney to choose a guardian gives you a say in the process, rather than turning it over to the courts who may or may not make the same decisions you would.

Having the proper legal documentation in place means your wishes will be carried out for the care of your minor children. There are some important considerations to be made when choosing a guardian.

One of the first things parents tend to consider is financial ability. This makes sense.  After all, you want to ensure your children are raised comfortably and you are not putting undue burden on the guardian you choose. This fact alone is enough to encourage parents to contact an estate planning attorney in the first place.

But, there are other considerations to keep in mind, many of which are arguably even more important than financial means.  For example, parents should choose a guardian whose values are consistent with their own. Does your family strongly value education or do you have devout religious beliefs?  Choosing a guardian who shares these values should probably be a high priority.

Of course, you do need to consider the guardian’s ability to support your children.  This is precisely why you need to work with an estate planning attorney.  Not only will he or she help you put together the legal documentation required to name a guardian, but this professional will also help you create the financial means for your child(ren)’s care.

An attorney may assist you in creating any number of trusts which can be used for your child’s upbringing. Money from these trusts can be used for basic care, as well as earmarked for future education. While you won’t be there physically, you can still help guide your children’s future. And, you will have much more influence when you choose a guardian who will raise your children with similar morals and values to your own.

Other things to consider when choosing a guardian for your child:

  • Do they have a similar parenting style to your own?
  • Is your child already comfortable with this person?
  • Are they willing to take on the responsibility?
  • Will they be emotionally able to care for your children after your death?

After putting considerable thought into your choice, work with a trusted estate planning attorney in to make your decision legal and binding.

Steve Greenwood, Esq.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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