When you have children, you suddenly have so many responsibilities. You don’t have to worry about day-to-day life. You have to address big-picture issues. What happens if you and your spouse died in a car crash, leaving your children orphaned?
You absolutely need to put an estate plan in place so that you have control over who becomes the guardian of your children.
How do you go about picking the right guardian? Ultimately, this is never an easy process, but here are a few tips:
1. Choose someone responsible and kind to the children
If your children are older, they might have opinions about which family member would be the best option for them if something were to happen to you. If they are younger, you might consider the way that different family members and friends have behaved with your children.
Overall, you want to prioritize responsibility and trustworthiness, as well as patience when making your choice. It is usually good to have a couple of options — just in case your first choice doesn’t work out.
2. Talk to your candidates before you create legal documents
One reason that you want multiple people to choose from is that not everyone will happily accept the role of guardian. Your first choice could turn you down because they plan to have their own children soon or know they aren’t dependable enough to be a full-time parent.
When you have someone who will accept the responsibility, then you can include their information in your last will. Thinking about issues like these well before your family would ever need to address them is the best way to protect your children.