Choosing a Guardian

Choosing a Guardian

A guardian is the individual who will be responsible for your children or other dependents should anything happen to you.  The selection of a guardian is one of the most difficult decisions anyone will ever face.

If you die intestate (without a will), the courts must appoint a guardian for you but they will not have the benefit of knowing your desires and preferences.

Some factors to consider when choosing a guardian:

    •    Age of the guardian.
    •    Religious beliefs and practices.
    •    Child-rearing and social attitudes.
    •    Relative income and social level.
    •    The guardian’s own family size and situation.
    •    Location and residence of the guardian.
    •    Family relationships.
    •    Anticipated attitude of your children.

If your assets and life insurance will provide sufficient resources for your child’s welfare and education, your choice of guardian need not be based on monetary considerations.  It is possible to name a guardian of the person separately from the guardian of the assets.

When you meet with an attorney to draft your last will and testament, be ready to name at least two guardians and obtain their permission before the documents are drafted.  Should one of them be unable to serve, you’ll have a backup and will have avoided having the courts step in to make the decision for you.

It is important to choose a guardian with goals, objectives, and moral standards that are similar to those you embrace.  They may be close family members or close friends.  Naming the grandparents of the children is probably not a good idea.  After all, they are more likely to die than you are and they used up all their patience raising you!