For parents, an important part of estate planning is choosing a guardian for a child who is still a minor. It may be hard to think of anyone replacing you, but that’s exactly what they need to do in case something happens to you before your child turns 18.
Most guardians never actually have to raise these children, but it’s still important to choose a person who’s willing and able to do it just in case. How do you find that person?
Consider your own values
First off, think about your values. Choose someone who generally shares those values. If you want your child to have a religious upbringing, for instance, choose a guardian who sees faith the same way that you do. If you value education, pick a guardian who will help the child learn and excel in school.
You do not have to choose a family member, but it may be wise. Think about how important your family is to you and how close you want your child to be to them if you pass away.
Consider the money
You do need to select someone who can actually afford to raise your child. This can get very expensive. Even if someone means well and would make a good parent, not being able to afford that role can make it financially taxing for them — and for your child. Of course, you may be able to leave enough money earmarked for your child that this won’t be an issue.
Once you have identified the best person or people to take on this role in your child’s life, then you need to know how to incorporate guardianship documents in your estate plan. Your estate planning attorney can help.