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Assigning a Guardian in a Will

How to Choose a Guardian in a Will

Choosing a guardian in a will is a crucial decision, particularly when it pertains to the well-being and future of your children. In this blog post, we will explore the essential aspects of choosing a guardian, specifically for your child.

Why Choose a Guardian in a Will for Your Child?

Selecting a caretaker is a fundamental part of estate planning. It ensures that you have the right person to manage your child’s upbringing if you become unable to do so. This chosen guardian will take on the responsibility of making crucial decisions regarding your child’s healthcare, financial matters, and more, providing you with peace of mind concerning your child’s future.

Who Can Be a Legal Guardian?

A legal guardian can be a relative, close friend, or someone without parental responsibility for your child. You can also name your partner as a guardian if they lack parental responsibility. However, if you were married when your child was born or your partner was named on the birth certificate, there’s no need to appoint them as a legal guardian.

How Many Guardians Should You Choose?

While most people appoint one legal guardian for their child, you can name two if they are a couple. You also have the option to appoint guardians for each of your children individually, granting you full control over their future in case something happens to you.

Changing Guardians for Your Child

You can update your will in the future using online will-writing services, which is essential for guardianship decisions. Life circumstances may change, and the people you would choose today may differ from those you would select in the future.

Appointing Guardians for Step-Children

You can appoint guardians for step-children only if you have parental responsibility for them. If you haven’t been granted parental responsibility, you should not include them in your will’s guardian section. If your partner wishes you to continue raising their children, they should appoint you as a guardian in their own will.

What Happens if Both Parents Die?

If both parents die without appointing a guardian for your child, the court will decide who takes care of your child. However, if both parents have named guardians in their wills, the appointed guardians will step in to care for your child.

How to Appoint a Guardian in Your Will

You can quickly and easily write a will using online will-writing services. During this process, you can specify guardians for your child by providing their names and contact information.  Alternatively, you can seek legal guidance by visiting an estate attorney to create a will for you. Once your will is complete, it’s crucial to review it carefully, sign it, and keep it in a safe place, ensuring the protection of your child’s future.

The Role of a Guardian

A legal guardian takes on all the responsibilities that you, as a parent, would typically fulfill for your child.

These responsibilities include:

  • Bringing Up Your Child: Raising your child until they reach adulthood, providing emotional support, guidance, and a stable environment.
  • Providing Shelter: Ensuring they have a safe and comfortable place to live.
  • Maintaining Health and Nutrition: Responsible for your child(ren)s diet and healthcare, making sure they receive proper medical attention when needed.
  • Education: Assuring your child receives a proper education, which may include choosing the right school and ensuring their academic progress.

General Considerations for Choosing a Conservator:

Planning in advance grants you the ability to influence the selection of your child’s guardian. To make an informed choice, it’s essential to consider the following key questions:

  1. Desired Relationship: What kind of relationship is established between your child and the guardian?
  2. Decision-Making Power: What aspects of your child’s life will this person be responsible for, including financial affairs?
  3. Backup Guardian: It is suggested to designate a backup/alternate caretaker in case the primary guardian is unable to fulfill their role?
  4. Reputation: Does this person have a reputation for honesty and integrity?
  5. Criminal Record: Is the candidate free of any felony convictions or major crimes?
  6. Financial Responsibility: Has the potential guardian demonstrated responsible financial management, or will you choose someone else to be a financial guardian?
  7. Experience: Does the candidate possess educational, professional, or business experience related to guardianship duties?
  8. Time and Health: Does this person have the time and good health to fulfill these responsibilities?
  9. Child’s Wishes: Furthermore, it’s important to take your child’s wishes into consideration when selecting a guardian.
  10. Familiarity: In addition, familiarity with the potential guardian can help ensure a smooth transition for your child.
  11. Similar Beliefs: Do the potential guardians share similar beliefs, values, and parenting styles with your family? This can help ensure consistency in your child’s upbringing.
  12. Continuity: Think about whether your child can continue enjoying their favorite hobbies and activities with the chosen guardian.
  13. School District: If you have specific preferences regarding your child’s education, ensure that your chosen caretaker can accommodate those choices.
  14. Siblings: If your child has siblings, consider how the chosen person will handle the responsibilities of caring for all of them.

Open and honest discussions with potential guardians are crucial.

Secure Your Child’s Future

By selecting a guardian for your child in your will, you are taking proactive steps to secure their future. Without a named guardian, the court may have to make this important decision on your behalf, potentially leading to outcomes that don’t align with your wishes.

In Summary:

Selecting a conservator for your child in your will requires thoughtful consideration of various factors. It offers peace of mind and guarantees that capable individuals look after your loved ones and your wishes are upheld.

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