Mistakes Parents Make When Naming Guardians

guardian

On behalf of The Law Office of Wickersham and Bowers posted in Estate Planning on Thursday June 9th 2022.

When putting together your will, one thing that must decide if you are a parent is what happens to your children should the worst happen to you and your partner. Your estate is one thing, but the well-being of your children is quite another! Should you become incapacitated, pass away, or otherwise unable to provide for your minor children, your will should include the names of suitable legal guardians you have chosen to care for them.

While it is a difficult thing to consider for any parent, the importance of the task makes it one of the more significant life decisions. Before naming a guardian, consider these mistakes many parents make.

Naming a Couple 

Some parents name a couple to raise their children if a guardian becomes necessary. However, what if you don’t want both members of the couple to raise your children? It is important to specify your wishes for your children’s guardianship should the couple be broken up or one of them passed away. 

Failing to Prepare for Short Term Needs

It is good to appoint short-term guardians to look after your child until your long-term guardian can take custody. An interim guardian, such as a nanny or trusted neighbor, can temporarily assume guardianship of your child and offer immediate care in the event of an emergency. If the police are contacted, and you don’t have temporary guardians, your child may be taken from your house and placed in protective custody.

Documenting Too Few Details

Everyone has different views on how children should be raised. Do you have a school in mind for your children? What about a particular diet? Religious beliefs? Your appointed guardian should respect your wishes as a parent, but they can’t respect them if they don’t know what they are.

Not Appointing a Financial Guardian

Often, parents forget to designate someone to manage the money they are leaving behind for the children. If you’re leaving money behind — which you should be, even if all you have is a life insurance policy — you should put it in trust for your children and appoint a trusted person to handle your children’s finances until they come of age.

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