In order to provide security for your children should you and your spouse meet an untimely demise, you should be considering updating your estate plan to include a guardian. One of the most difficult parts about such estate planning is choosing who will be guardian should you and your spouse encounter a tragic incident.
When you first breach the subject, many people will come to mind who can serve as guardians. You do have many friends and family members who would do this for you in an instant. But as you stop and think about it, you will find out the decision might not be as easy as you first thought it would be.
The likelihood that someone you know will have to step into that guardianship role is very small. But if it does happen, the impact on your children and their new guardian is great. So this is a decision that should not be taken lightly.
Goldberg and Associates, your elder law firm in Atlanta, offers considerations when choosing a guardian for your children.
As you are making your estate plan, you are probably going to leave some of your assets to your children and even some for their care. Raising kids is expensive and raising your kids will no doubt put a financial burden on the proposed guardians.
As is the case. You will want to choose a guardian who can handle the finances and who you can trust with the funds that you leave the children.
The guardians you choose will have a whole lot more responsibility than just clothing, feeding and sheltering your children. They will also be teaching them, caring for them and guiding them throughout their education.
As such, you need to choose a guardian who shares your values. You must also choose a guardian who will comply with your wishes when it comes to religion.
Got the Time?
If your children are quite young, the guardian you choose will have to commit much of their time to this task. You have to ensure that the guardian you choose is up for the task of not only raising your children, but raising your children who are grieving and in need of extra attention.
If the guardian you are choosing already has children, you will want to ensure your kids would make a good fit in their household. You have to consider several factors including the age of all the children, the ability of the guardians to take on more children and the long-term plans of the proposed guardians.
In the real world, nearly half of all marriages end in divorce. Which is why you need to consider this when thinking about your proposed guardian.
If the proposed guardian is already married, great. But what would happen in the event of a divorce? This is something you need to discuss with the proposed guardian.
If you wish your brother and his wife to be the guardians, it makes more sense to just make your brother the guardian. This way, if there is a divorce in the future, there will be no conflict.
The person you want to raise your children in the event of your demise should not be suffering a chronic or debilitating disease that could leave them unable to raise your children. This is especially true if your kids are young and full of energy.
Your parents might seem like the perfect choice for guardians, but you must factor age into the equation. If your children are young, you risk your kids losing their caretakers all over again. So take age and health into consideration.
Where They Live
You might have an aunt or uncle who would be excellent guardians, except they live far away. If your children have to move, they will lose their friends, school, church community and neighbors. That might be asking too much.
Before naming the guardian or guardians of your children, you need to do a lot of homework. It helps to talk with the people you want as guardians to get an idea of how they feel and what they would do in a particular situation.
Contact Goldberg and Associates if you have questions about guardianship.