If you have kids, their safety is probably one of the most important considerations when you create an estate plan. You want to know that your children will have resources to provide for them and that they won’t wind up in foster care or state group homes without any real social support.
As a parent, naming a guardian is one of the most important things that you can do to protect your children during the estate planning process.
Select someone with the house, time and resources to care for your kids
If you only have one sibling and they already have four children, leaving them custody of your kids may not be the best option. A guardian should be stable, have income of their own and be able to handle the stress of parenting. As families change throughout life, it may become necessary to re-evaluate your guardians and name someone else who will be in a good position to care for your kids.
Pick someone who will put your kids first
Some people only accept guardianship because they get access to an inheritance. Creating a trust can be a great way to remove the financial incentive for guardianship. It is possible for you to leave resources to help support the guardian your name, but you want to make sure that the person who accepts the position does so because they love your children and not because they want to benefit financially.
Make sure your selection is in agreement and name a backup
One of the biggest mistakes a parent could make is assuming that someone else is excited at the prospect of taking care of their children. Make sure that you give people a chance to consider your request and the space to say no if they want to.
Additionally, naming an alternate guardian if your first choice has a change of heart when faced with reality or is unavailable due to circumstances beyond their control will ensure that no matter what, your kids are with someone who loves them.