Over 60 percent of parents don’t select guardians for their children. The failure to designate a guardian to care for your children in the event you are incapacitated or die while they are still minors can result in decisions that you wouldn’t agree with. Discussing guardianships may seem like a depressing and daunting task, but selecting the best possible guardians is one way of protecting children’s rights.
Such a decision can impact the lives of children’s for years, so it shouldn’t be made lightly. First, consider the ability of the potential guardians to care for children. Take financial status, stability, social settings, employment and other considerations in mind. Children should be cared for by someone who loves them, is stable enough to support them and will not be bitter about the sacrifices involved in caring for others.
Consider a succession of potential guardians. If you name a single person and something happens to that person, who will care for your children? Consider all aspects of the future and account for them in your will and estate-planning documents. For example, if you name a couple as guardians, record wishes about what should happen if that couple divorces or one of the spouses passes away.
Make arrangements for both short-term and long-term care. Communicate your desire to loved ones both inside and outside of legal means so those closest to you know what should be done with your children in an emergency. Consider the benefits of a trust rather than relying solely on a will.
Estate planning involves complex legal issues and arrangements, but is essential to ensure things are handled according to your wishes. Understanding the legal options for protecting your children in any situation and planning for those events gives you peace of mind and protects your family’s future.
Source: South Florida Parenting, “6 common mistakes to avoid when naming guardians for your children” Elise Rodriguez, Dec. 03, 2013