As a new parent who is starting to craft an estate plan, your top goal may be formalizing a potential guardian for your child. In fact, having that child may have spurred you to make your estate plan. You’re not necessarily worried about what happens to your assets at this point in your life – although having a plan, certainly helps – your main focus is ensuring that your child is cared for.
Choosing a guardian can certainly help to accomplish this aim. But to do so, you’ll need to first pick a proper guardian. Here are a few things you should look for.
People often want to select their own parents. This does feel like it makes sense. These new grandparents certainly love the young child and offer a lot of support. But you also have to consider their age and if they would be a good guardian until the child has turned 18. In some cases, grandparents will not have the physical or mental health to care for a child for that long.
A willingness to assume the role
Additionally, it’s usually suggested that you talk to the person whom you’re considering appointing as a potential guardian before naming them in your estate plan. Make sure that they are actually willing to take on that role prior to assigning it to them. Even some people who love you and your child – and who you feel like would be a good fit – may simply not think that they’re in a position to take on that responsibility.
The ability to provide care
Do they have other children? What would it be like integrating your child into that family? What is their financial situation like? Is the person you’re choosing as a guardian financially stable enough to take on raising a child?
Setting up your estate plan
Of course, you may also want to think about personal preferences, such as parenting styles or religion. No matter who you choose to be your guardian, once you’ve made the decision, you can seek legal guidance to better ensure that your selection is properly formalized and that your paperwork is legally enforceable.