Setting the terms for your last will and estate plan when you are relatively young and healthy can be a difficult task. As far from pleasant as it may be for the average person, it can be even more difficult for parents of young children to plan an estate.
One of the hardest decisions to make and aspects of your last will to consider may be who to name as the right guardian for your minor children. It can be difficult to imagine your children growing up without you there to witness their progress, failures, laughter and birthdays. Still, naming the right guardian is the best thing that you can do to protect your children’s childhood.
If you find yourself struggling with naming the right person or agreeing on who to name with your spouse, these three steps could help you identify the individual who may be up to the task of caring for your most precious assets, your children.
Consider someone’s position in life and openness to change
Sometimes, people think primarily of financial stability or security when looking for a guardian. It is, of course, important to choose someone who can provide the basic necessities for your children, particularly if the estate you leave behind for them will be somewhat limited. Having a house and a job can certainly make being a good guardian easier.
However, financial resources should not be the most important consideration when selecting a guardian. Instead, you want to think of their ability to maintain a stable household and their willingness to accept change. After all, welcoming one or more children into their home unexpectedly will certainly require flexibility and patience.
Look at existing relationships carefully
Positive pre-existing relationships can be a great indicator of a successful new family unit in the future. If your children have a particular attachment to one aunt or really respond to a certain friend of the family, you may want to consider whether that person in particular would be a good fit for raising your children and guiding them toward a successful adulthood.
Talk to your candidates to see how they feel
All of the careful planning and consideration in the world will be for nothing if you pick someone who isn’t open to accepting these complex responsibilities. Having a sit-down conversation with a handful of individuals whom you consider potential candidates for the guardianship of your child in the event that something happens to you is a great way to feel confident in your decision.
Regardless of how you choose to structure the guardianship and estate plan, you want to be able to move forward feeling confident with your choice for the person assuming your parental responsibilities.