A guardian is someone who will take care of your children when you are no longer able to. Unlike a Trust where you name beneficiaries who will receive property upon your death, a Will, among other purposes, names who shall act as the legal guardian to your children upon your death. So, it is very important that the person you select is responsible. How do you select the right person? First, ASK that person if they are willing to be a legal guardian of a minor. It is a huge responsibility. Below are some considerations my clients have used to make the right choice:
1. Name a sibling who has children and knows how to take care of them.
2. Choose a friend who loves your kids and has told you they would be willing to be a guardian.
3. Consider a parent who is young enough to care for your children.
4. Someone you trust explicitly!
If you don’t name a guardian for your minor children, then a court will decide for you. Should both parents die before the child(ren) reach the age of 18 (a named guardian does not trump the parental rights of the other parent if that parent is still alive). This may require someone to petition the court for a guardianship to make sure your children are placed in the care of someone who can properly take care of them. As you know, being a parent requires responsibility, time and lots of love! So, take the time now to write your will and name a guardian if you have minor children.