Life happens. Things happens that can not predicted. As mature, responsible parents, we have to be ready for life. We also have to be ready for death. One of these responsibilities is choosing a guardian for our children, in case we do die while they are still under age.
Of course, you do not want to think about this. If given the choice, you want to see your children grow. You want to see them blow out all of their birthday candles throughout their teenage years. You want to teach them to drive. You want to watch them graduate, help them pick out a college, a career and hopefully see them marry.
But we do not always have a choice in what happens. You don’t have to be sick to die, either. You could be killed in an accident. But it is not only you that could be killed. You and your spouse both could be killed. Then what will happen to your children? This is the reason you to need to decide now who should be named guardian of your child or children.
There is so many things to think about when you make this decision. For this reason, you and your spouse need to sit down, with possibly paper and pen, have plenty of time, make sure that your child or children are not in hearing distance and just begin. Remember, there is a good chance you might not even come to a decision in your first discussion of this matter.
Where do you start? Family members? That is usually where most people starts? Brothers, sisters, mom’s and dad’s usually have top billing on the list. Then you should start thinking about each of their ages, health status. If mom and dad is too old or too sick, of course they are not going to manage. A lot of times it isn’t fair to ask our parents to raise our children. They have done their part, all ready in raising us. Some grandparents are too sick or want to travel. Yet, other grandparents would be hurt if you don’t choose them. Next in line are siblings. When deciding if you chose one of these, remember to consider the size of the family they are all ready have. If your sister has three children all ready, could she handle your three, too? Then there is the financial side to consider. Of course, if you are going to be able to leave a rather large nest egg to your child or children you can set up it in a trust where the guardian is able to use it to take care of your child or children’s expenses.
Getting complicated? Yes. But there is more you need to consider.
What about location? Where does the chose guardian live? Will your child/children have to change schools or make a major move like out of state? Remember when and if the time comes your child/children are going to be upset over the lost of you and your spouse, you don’t want added stress. If you their is a good guardian choice that lives in your school district you may want to consider him/her, them.
Does your choice of guardian have to be family? No. It can be a close friend.
Does your choice have to be married? No. If you think a single friend can handle the duties of raising your child/children then no, he/she does not have to be married.
Are you religious? If your religion is a big issue with you, you should be sure to consider this when choosing a guardian.
What about the financial status of the person you choose? Like stated before, if you can leave your child/children a nest egg, it doesn’t have to be a big issue, but you don’t want the person to be flaky and be going from job to job either, of he/she may take advantage of the money left to your child.
You should also think about the relationship your child/children has with the person you choose. They really should get along well. They should all ready see each on a regular basis, all ready know things about your child/children.
Once you and your spouse decides on a person, first you should discuss it with your child, if he/she is old enough to understand. Explain first that you and your spouse are not planning on dying, but that life happens. If he/she/they seem to agree with your decision talk to the person you want to be guardian. They need to be given a choice. They may not want the responsibility. Try not to be angry if they say no, although this is a difficult thing to do.
If the person you choose agrees, talk to your attorney and get everything down on paper in your will. Talk to your attorney about how any money should be left and if the guardian should be allowed full access to it. Then when all the papers are signed, you can relax and live. More than likely those papers will never have to be put to use.