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Considerations When Choosing a Guardian for Your Children

As you prepare your estate plan, many of the decisions you have to make relate to your children. You may not have thought about how you would want your estate distributed to your minor children if something should happen to you. Would it go to your children equally? Should it be distributed outright or in trust? Should your estate be held in trust with distributions for health, education, and support and then distributed at various age intervals? Who would be an appropriate choice to be the trustee that manages your children’s assets
Another consideration is the choice of who will be the guardian for your minor children. Here are some questions to ask yourself as you think about who to nominate as the guardian of the person, ie. the individual or couple who will physically take care of your children: feed them, clothe them, educate them, etc.

1. Is the person you’ve chosen young enough to take on the responsibility? Often young couples will want to name the maternal or paternal grandparents. Raising children is a tough job and as much as you may want to name your parents, they may not be physically capable of raising your children to adulthood or they may not survive you. If you do choose individuals who are older than you, always name back up guardians.

2. If you’ve named a couple to take care of your children, what should happen if the couple divorce?

3. Is the proposed guardian physically well, emotionally stable, and financially secure? Does he or she have a healthy lifestyle and no addictions? Do they have a job that could take them out of the state or necessitate a deployment out of the country?

4. Does the individual have parenting skills similar to your own and the traits necessary to raise your children? Patience and a sense of humor come to mind. Are your religious beliefs an important consideration?

As with all the issues involved in creating an estate plan, we can help you through the process of making these and other important decisions. Call us or email us if we can help.

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