Mother holding child's hands

How to Choose a Guardian for Young Children

One of the most important things estate planning allows you to do is to select a guardian for your minor children. You can take the time you need to make this important decision and select a guardian who you can trust to take care of your kids should the need ever arise. Of course, making such a huge decision can feel overwhelming and emotional, but there are certain things you should focus on in particular when selecting a guardian. Here, we’ll walk you through some of the more important factors you should consider when choosing a guardian for young children.

How to Choose a Guardian for Young Children

When thinking of who you wish to choose as a guardian for your young children, it is likely that you are running through a mental list of friends and family members. It is important to remember, however, that those who may be closest to you may not necessarily be the ideal candidates for this important role. Your best friend, for instance, may be your closest confidant but that does not mean that they are prepared to take on the critical task of raising your children. There are other things to consider.

You will want to think about this role in the long term. Consider the age and stage of life of your prospective guardian choices. Are they in a place in their life to raise children into the foreseeable future? When thinking about this type of thing, you will want to consider the age and health of the prospective guardian as well as what stage of life they are in. Are they looking to start a family of their own? Are they intensely focused on their careers and plan on doing so for the next several years?

While reviewing guardian candidates in light of whether they are at a good place in life to take on responsibility for younger children, you may never know for sure if someone will be ready to take on such a responsibility should the need arise. All you can do is make an educated and well-thought-out choice. You can also name an alternate guardian that can be appointed should your primary guardian be unwilling or unable to serve when the time comes.

You may also want to consider the living situation and location of a potential guardian. Do they live near good schools? Do they live near family? Would your children have to move far away from everything they have ever known? The living situation of a guardian will also be important. Do they have stable housing? Is it a good living situation for young children?

In addition to a good living situation, you should be sure to inquire with a prospective guardian about their ability to financially support and raise young children. We all know that raising children can be quite expensive and while you may be reluctant and a bit uncomfortable broaching this conversation, it really is a necessity to help ensure that your guardian choice has the resources available to support your children as they grow. Of course, there are things that you can do as well to provide your children with resources. You may wish to establish a trust for them.

You will also want to consider the parenting skills as well as the religious and moral beliefs of a potential guardian. You can, of course, express how you wish your children to be raised, morally and religiously speaking, but it will likely be easier for this to become a reality of your guardian selection has beliefs that already fall in line with this. Above all, however, you will want to have a long and serious conversation with any potential guardian about whether they would be willing to raise your children and raise them in a way that would honor you.

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