Your children are always top of mind. But have you considered their futures in the case of your untimely death? You can name their guardian in your will. The guardian will be legally responsible for your children’s well-being while they are under the age of 18, overseeing their shelter, education, finances and medical care.
If you have not selected a guardian for your minor children, here are some key considerations.
1. Do not wait
Dying without a will puts the lives of your minor children into the hands of the court. It will appoint a legal guardian for your children and the decision will ultimately fall to strangers who do not know you or your parenting preferences.
2. Choose well
Any appointed guardian must be above the age of 18 and of sound mind. However, meeting those two requirements does not make someone the ideal choice to raise your children. Additionally, you should shy away from naming elderly relatives as guardians unless you also appoint a back-up guardian.
You also should consider the following before appointing a guardian:
- Religious preferences
- Emotional stability
3. Be open to changing your mind
Your guardianship decision is not set in stone. Changing the name of the guardian in your will is extremely simple, and you can change it multiple times. Once you make the initial decision and clear it with the guardian in question, make sure to revisit your choice frequently to ensure you have selected the current and correct option for your family.
It is important to seek the guidance of an experienced attorney when making any plans for guardianship.