Who is the nominated Guardian for your kids? How did you choose that person? Who would take care of your kids if you and your spouse died?
Did you know that well over 60% of parents with children under the age of 18 do not have a Will? Most people think their parents or sister or best friend will automatically take on the responsibility of their kids if they died. However, things might not necessarily work out that way. And if this is not planned ahead of time then the transition will be way more chaotic than it needs to be. At an already devastating time for your kids this would just multiply the emotional pain.
So how do I name a guardian and avoid this emotional trauma? Good question. You can have a Will drafted and name the guardian and alternate guardian within that document. We will talk more extensively about Wills in another article. So the next question is who should you nominate as a guardian? It’s not an easy decision and is probably the most difficult decision to make. Obviously, there are no perfect solutions, but the following considerations include:
Financial: Can your guardian afford to take care of your children or would it place them in financial stress?
Age: What is the current age of your guardian? Would they have the maturity to care for your children if something were to happen to you tomorrow? Are they young enough to cope with the care of your children not just now but over the next 18 years?
Lifestyle: Will your guardian have the same values, beliefs, and outlook on life that are important to you?
Geography: Is your guardian likely to live in a location that would enable your children to retain contact with other friends and family members?
Family Considerations: It is important to consider the competing demands of the guardian’s own children. How would this change the family dynamics? What if they don’t get along? While many people choose a family member as guardian it is not a requirement. And it may not always be practical. The most important question is what is best for your children regardless of family ties? If you do choose a family friend to be guardian, it is wise to make your family aware of your decision and the reasons behind it.
Remember you can always change your guardian (and you should review it every 3 years). The most important thing is to JUST DO IT! So have you named a guardian for your children? If so, who did you choose and why?