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How Can I Choose a Guardian for My Minor Children?

Posted on in Estate Planning Blog

Lombard estate planning lawyerOut of all the younger people who are considering creating a will, parents are most likely to see the value and importance of this legal document. In addition to knowing where their assets will be going, they want the added security of knowing who will be caring for their children in the instance that they can no longer do so themselves. Of course, this is a very difficult decision to make. The following tips are designed to help you on your journey.

Know the Why Behind Your Will

Sometimes, even the best-intentioned parents can put off making arrangements in advance because they mistakenly assume that the person they want to care for their children will automatically step up and be given these rights. Unfortunately, this is simply not the case. When there is no will (or when a guardian is not named in it), anyone can step up for the job, including extended family members that you may not consider suitable. In the event that more than one person comes forward, the judge would consider a variety of factors and then decide who will be given the responsibilities.

Accept That No One Else Will Compare to You

Probably the hardest step in choosing the right guardian for your child or children is to accept that no one will ever do the job quite the same, or as well, as you. There will be things about each person that may cause you to reconsider, but you must remember that the idea is to choose the person you feel will be best suited to responsibly, lovingly, and permanently care for your children. The following are points you may wish to consider:

  • Whose parenting style, religious beliefs, values, and/or temperament most closely align with those of you and/or your spouse?

  • Is there anyone that your children feel especially close to?

  • Does the possible candidate have children of their own? If so, how would your children fit into the mix?

  • Would the candidate have the extra time, energy, and attention to devote to caring for your children?

  • Is the candidate emotionally, financially, mentally, and physically capable of caring for your children long term?

  • Would the relocation of your children be necessary? Does that impact your decision?

Discuss the Role with Your Short List

Once you have narrowed down all of the people you would consider fit to care for your children, you will want to sit down and have a discussion with each one regarding their feelings about being a guardian. Are they willing to accept, or are they hesitant? Be prepared for them to reveal some concerns that you might not have considered, and be open to considering those that express a clear desire for the role of guardian.

Odds are, your list will be reduced to a very short one at this point. Determine which person would be the best fit and then consider at least one backup, just in case. You may also wish to think about the idea of time constraints for guardians, particularly if you plan to appoint your parents. Keep in mind, however, that time-sensitive guardianships can be difficult for children. Plan accordingly based on what you know is best for your children and for those that would be caring for them.

Get Help From a DuPage County Estate Planning Attorney

Although it is possible to draft a will without the assistance of an attorney, there are many reasons why you should avoid the do-it-yourself option. This is especially true if there are minor children involved. The skilled team at A. Traub & Associates provides creative estate planning solutions to residents in the Northern Illinois area. Call 630-426-0196 for a confidential consultation with one of our experienced Lombard wills and trusts attorneys today.

 

Sources:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/lizfrazierpeck/2017/11/28/how-to-choose-the-right-guardian-for-your-child/

https://www.whattoexpect.com/first-year/how-to-pick-a-guardian-for-your-child.aspx

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