Richard E. Fowlks, Attorney at Law

Tips for choosing a guardian for your child

Choosing a guardian for your child is one of the biggest estate planning decisions you will make. This is the person who will step in to raise your child should you (and your spouse) no longer be around to do so.

While you have many choices, you need to narrow your options and make a final decision in a timely manner. In other words, don't put this off with the idea that you can make a decision later on.

Here are some tips to follow:

  • Define your dream parent: What qualities does your dream parent have? From parenting style to personality, there's a lot to think about.
  • Talk it out with your spouse: It's possible you could have one idea while your spouse has another. This is why you need to lay everything out on the table early on, giving you enough time to compare the pros and cons of each potential guardian.
  • Consider both family and friends: It's easy to believe you have to choose a family member, but nothing could be further from the truth. A close family friend may make a better guardian.
  • Ask permission: You don't want to name a person guardian until you first discuss it with him or her. This is a big decision, so ask permission and provide plenty of time to think it through.

When you follow these tips, you'll find it easier to choose a guardian for your child. You may run into some challenges along the way, but don't let anything stop you from taking this important estate planning step.

Source: Parenting, "How to Choose a Guardian for Your Child," Melissa Balmain, accessed April 26, 2018

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