10 Tips for Choosing a Guardian for Your Children

When undertaking comprehensive estate planning, many people find that the most difficult decisions involve the care of the minor children if one or both parents are unable to care for them.

Below is a list that we use to help clients make a decision they’ll feel good about.

1. Think beyond the obvious choices.

You don’t need to limit your list to close family members.

2. Don’t stress about finances or the size of someone’s house.

You can take care of the finances with what you leave. (That’s what adequate life insurance is about.)

3. Consider values and philosophies.

Ask yourself which people on your list most closely share your values and philosophies with respect to your:

• religious beliefs
• moral values
• child-rearing philosophy
• educational values
• social values

4. Personality counts.

• Are they loving/affectionate?
• Are they good role models?
• Are they patient?

5. Consider practical factors.

• How would raising children fit into their lifestyle?
• If they’re older, do they have the necessary health and stamina? Do they really want to be parents of a young child at their stage in life?
• Do they have other children?
• How close do they live to other important people in your children’s lives?

6. Look for a good – but not a perfect – choice.

7. In the end, trust your instincts. If you truly consider what matters to you most, you will probably be able to make some reasonable choices.

8. Select a temporary as well as a permanent guardian.

9. Write down your reasons.

10. Talk with everyone involved. If your children are old enough, talk with them to get their input as well.

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