For new parents or parents with a minor child, it’s absolutely critical that you take estate planning steps to ensure that your child is left in good hands in case of your sudden passing in an unforeseen event.
Here are a few considerations to make when selecting a guardian for your child in an estate plan.
One of the most important factors in choosing a guardian for your child is ensuring that the person you select has consented to this enormous responsibility. Even if the guardian you are considering is a parent or a sibling you are close with, this question needs to be addressed.
A relationship with your child
If your child is older, it may useful to appoint a guardian who lives nearby and has a relationship with your child. While you may feel close to an out of state relative, that person may not be the best support option for an older child who is grieving.
Especially if your child is an infant, you will need to choose someone who has the financial means to support your child through many years.
Consider how employable the potential guardian is. Are they able to hold down a job? Do they make enough to support themselves and a child? These questions can be uncomfortable to ask the potential guardian, but they are important considerations for both you and the potential guardian to take.
Consider whether this person is likely to be in good physical condition to care for your child. For example, you may wish to appoint your parent. However, if they have a mobility issue, it may be difficult for them to care for an infant child.
Ability to keep commitments
Caring for someone else’s child can be especially difficult for those who weren’t planning on it.
Think about whether this person shows up to appointments on time, stays employed and finishes things they start. These may give you a few clues as to whether this person can be trusted to commit to your child.
Overall parental character
It is important to recognize this person’s character as a parent of a young child, rather than only considering the relationship you hold with the person. Ensure that the guardian you choose would encourage your child to learn practical skills, act as a positive role model and keep your child’s best interests in mind.
For help appointing a guardian for your minor child, talk to an attorney. An attorney can advise you on special provisions to make and other estate planning options.