As a parent with a young child, you need to have a specified legal guardian named in your estate plan. This can help to ensure that your child will be cared for in the event that something happens to you and the child’s other parent.
There are various reasons why you might consider changing your child’s legal guardian designation at some point, which is one of the reasons why it’s important to regularly review and update your estate plan to reflect your current circumstances and preferences.
Death or incapacitation
If your chosen guardian passes away or becomes incapacitated, it’s crucial to update your child’s legal guardian designation. The purpose of appointing a legal guardian is to ensure that your child is cared for in the event that both parents are unable to do so. If the designated guardian is no longer able to fulfill this responsibility, it’s important to choose an alternative person or persons to step into that role.
Change in relationship with the designated guardian
Relationships can evolve over time, and your relationship with the designated guardian may change. This could be due to personal differences, conflicts or simply a shift in circumstances. If you no longer feel confident in the ability of the initially chosen guardian to provide the necessary care and support for your child, it may be time to reconsider and choose a different person.
If the designated guardian plans to move to a different location, especially if it’s a significant distance away, it may be necessary to reconsider the appointment. A guardian who lives far away may face challenges in promptly assuming responsibility for your child in the event of an emergency. Consider whether the potential guardian’s new location aligns with your preferences for your child’s upbringing and well-being.
The child’s evolving needs
As your child grows, their needs, preferences and relationships may change. It’s important to consider whether the initially chosen guardian is still the best fit for your child’s evolving circumstances. A guardian who was suitable when your child was younger may not be the ideal choice as they enter adolescence or face specific challenges.
When contemplating appointing or changing your child’s legal guardian, it’s advisable to seek legal guidance to better ensure that the process is carried out correctly and in compliance with relevant laws. There is simply too much at stake in this situation to risk a mistake or misstep.