Choosing a Guardian

Of course, if you have children, having the free will to choose a guardian for them in the event of an early death or incapacitation is one of the most important reasons to have an estate plan.

What is a Guardian?

Most people associate the term with someone who will take care of your minor children in case you can’t. However, there are two guardians that you want to consider: personal and financial.

You want a guardian appointment for your children – someone who will provide a home, food, love, and support. And you want a guardian of the estate – someone who manages your kids’ inheritance.

The guardian of the estate and person do not have to be the same. They can be two different people, but they can be the same if preferred.

Keep reading as we break down the details on how to choose a guardian for your children and estate.

Guardian of the Person

Guardian of the person is the guardian that will take care of your children if you and your spouse pass away. This person should be someone you know and trust, but also someone you know can provide support to your children in their biggest time of need.

Guardian of the Estate

The Guardian of the estate is the guardian of the estate and all the assets involved. Remember, this does not have to be the same as the guardian of the person. This should be someone who makes sound financial decisions, who is financially responsible, and who will respect your wishes.

Why You Need to Choose a Guardian

As a living, breathing parent, your top priority is your children. In the event of a sudden accident, you need a plan in place to ensure that your children are still top priority.

If you pass away without naming a guardian for both your children and estate, things could get messy and stressful for survivors. If you do not appoint a guardian, your intentions are unknown, so the court will decide who watched your children. This decision is not quick. It could take week or even months due to laws. In the meantime, children are places in foster care.

Your estate will be divided and distributed according to the laws of the state. Any inheritance for your children will be held in a trust and managed by someone you don’t know (or never met).

As you can already tell, there are several benefits to choosing a guardian. The most common are:

  • You get to pick who controls your assets and raises your children - not the court.
  • You can discuss future plans with guardians before you choose.
  • You have control over your assets and inheritances.
  • You have peace of mind knowing the future of your children is safe and secure.

How to Choose a Guardian that’s Best for You

Choosing a guardian can be hard. There are so many factors that you have to think about because it has such a massive effect on your loved ones and assets after you pass.

When choosing a guardian of person, make sure to consider these factors:

  • Who do you trust will follow your wishes?
  • Where does the guardian reside?
  • What are the guardian’s morals and values?
  • Will the guardian take on this new role or will they have problems?
  • Have they raised kids before?
  • Is the guardian in good health and well-being?
  • How well does the child know this person?

You want to ensure that the guardian is the best fit for your children and that both will continue living their best lives with one another.

Remember, the guardian of estate can be the same guardian you choose for the person, or you can appoint someone else. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Are they good at managing money?
  • Are they organized?
  • Are they timely?
  • Do you trust they will do as you wish?

As you’re making your estate plan, one of the most crucial decisions you’ll have to make is who you will appoint guardianship to once you pass away. An experienced estate planning attorney can help you work through your options and suggest solutions for your unique situation.

Our business attorneys have gone through this process many times and know what to look for. Even if you already have someone in mind it does not hurt to get some expertise and tips from an expert.

If you have not chosen a guardian yet and would like to, give us a call or contact us online to get a free consultation. We are more than happy to help!