One of the most difficult choices any parent faces is determining who would serve as your minor child’s guardian if you both were to die prematurely. Yet, this decision makes a tremendous difference in your child’s life.
Systematically compare your potential guardian against qualities and traits that are important to you. How do they rate? Consider: maturity; patience; stamina; age; child-rearing philosophy; current relationship with your children; integrity; religion; social and moral values; marital or family status and willingness to serve. Obviously, the perfect choice would score highly on every measure.
Don’t necessarily disregard potential guardians because they may lack the financial wherewithal to raise your child unless they are completely fiscally irresponsible. You can continue to ensure your children’s material well-being at your death with sufficient life insurance funded to a well-drafted Trust for their benefit.
As any experienced estate planning attorney will advise you, even after the choice is finally agree upon, there are other decisions to be made. For example, you have selected a couple to serve jointly as your child’s guardian. What do you want to happen if the couple divorces or, because of death or incapacity, only one can serve? Certainly this drives home the value of maintaining your estate plan! However, if one of these events were to occur shortly before your death, your plan should express your desires regarding these “what ifs”. In the case of a divorce, would you want one or the other to serve? In the case of death or disability, would it be better to move on to the next name on the list?
You can read the article entitled “How to Chose a Guardian” in its entirety on our website where you may find additional articles of interest to you and your family on estate planning topics in Williamsburg, Virginia. Be sure to sign up for our complimentary e-newsletter to stay abreast of issues like these that could affect you, your loved ones and your estate planning