One of the most emotional parts of the estate planning process for parents can be deciding who to appoint as guardian for your children. It’s tough to think about not being there to watch your little ones grow up, but it’s important to plan for their well-being in the unlikely event that both you and their other parent should pass away before they reach adulthood.
If you’re having difficulty deciding which of your friends or family members to name, here are a few things to think about:
- Consider whether it’s important that your children remain geographically close to where you live now. If staying in the same state, the same city, or the same school system are primary concerns, then this may help you narrow your list of potential candidates considerably.
- Think about your family’s moral values. What church do you go to? How do you feel about the types of television shows your kids are allowed to watch? What about dating and curfews? You’ll likely want to choose a guardian with similar views, values, and rules.
- What is your family’s lifestyle? Are you outdoorsy or do you prefer to stay inside? What kinds of foods do you eat? What time do your kids get up and go to bed? Is your schedule structured or more flexible? What about your potential guardian’s household? If things are very different there, how would your kids handle the transition?
- Do your kids have pets? If so, how does the potential guardian feel about those pets?
Once you narrow down your options, it’s a good idea to consult with the intended guardian before drawing up your estate plan. The last thing you want is to name someone in your will, and then have them be unable to take care of your children when the moment arrives. It’s also a sound idea to name at least one alternate guardian.