How Should Parents Go About Picking a Guardian for Their Children?

On behalf of The Law Office of Wickersham and Bowers posted in Estate Planning on Monday April 12, 2021.

Have you written a will? If so, have you thought about your wishes for your children? Planning your estate is important, but your children’s long-term welfare should be your top priority. For this reason, your will should include the names of legal guardians you feel could best care for your children if you became incapacitated, passed away, or were otherwise unable to provide for them. Before you decide on guardians, the following are some key points to consider.

1. Think about the Big Picture

If one of the guardians you choose passes away before you update your will, and the other is unable to assume the role on their own, you’ll be in a dilemma. So, creating a backup plan that considers all of the “what-ifs” makes good sense, and gives you control of your children’s well-being even if you’re incapacitated or deceased.

2. Provide Detailed Instructions on How Your Children Should be Raised

Is there a certain school you want your children to attend? What about their nutritional needs and religion? As their biological parent, your wishes should be respected. While you can’t certify that your child will study ballet or learn how to play soccer, you can at least make clear your desires about how and where they’re raised.

3. Select Multiple Guardians

Choosing three or four different guardians safeguards your children’s future, particularly if your first or second choice fails to work out. Carefully selecting a number of backup guardians ensures that your children will be taken care of, no matter what happens.

4. Consider Parenting Skills, Beliefs, Finances, Age, and Living Situation

It might be beneficial if the named guardian is a parent, so they already know how to raise children. Also, their religious or moral beliefs, financial situation, age, and living situation are all key factors to consider when thinking about your children’s future life and well-being. If the prospective guardian meets all of your criteria except the element of financial security, you might consider establishing a trust for your children so their guardian can raise them in comfort. 

Ultimately, you are the only one who can determine the ideal custodian for your children if you’re unable to care for them yourself. To learn about how our experienced Florida family law attorneys can help you choose the right guardian and guide you through the guardianship process, call us toll free at 386-252-3000 or fill out the contact form on our website. 

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