Life is unpredictable as it is, and no matter how well you plan for it, there’s always a chance for things to go south. As parents, it’s an understandable predicament to prepare for your child’s future – one where you no longer remain in the picture.
After all, having a plan is better than having no plan, especially for a time when you and your partner are no longer around to care for your children. Even though it’s a difficult choice to make or even consider, you need to plan for the worst, so you could have the peace of mind that your child will be well taken care of when you are not around.
The consequences of putting off a will
Failing to arrange a guardian means it falls upon the court to choose one for you, and your child may end up with a family you won’t approve of in the interest of your child.
As the minor gets placed with a new family chosen by the court, the experience can cause disruption in the minor’s growth, even if she is already familiar with the new family.
Prioritize your child’s well-being by naming a guardian ahead of your final hour. The guardian should share your values and should be able to provide your child with a happy and secure childhood. This will ensure a smoother transition process for your child.
The best course of action is to probate a Will while you are still alive and well. Choosing a guardian for your child requires careful consideration. It would be best to select someone you can wholeheartedly trust with your child’s future – someone who can ensure that your child grows up in a loving home.
Seven things to consider when choosing a guardian
Choosing the right guardian for your child will arguably be one of the most challenging and important decisions you will ever make when making a will. Guardianship has definite implications on your child’s future.
You should consider these seven things before deciding on a legal guardian for your child.
- Choose someone who is a good parent
Your close friends and family might be willing to babysit for your child every once in a while. But are they ready for the responsibility of looking after your child full time when you are no longer in the picture?
Are they capable of raising a child on their own? Because let’s be honest, looking after a child is no easy feat. You should look for a guardian who treats your child with love and respect when you are not around.
If a potential guardian has kids of their own, then they are aware of the parental struggles of raising a young one and will be able to cater to the child’s needs with love and warmth.
- Know that you can change your decision at any time
Selecting a suitable guardian is a tough decision to make. Appointing guardianship, after all, is planning for the worst-case scenario. There is no one as perfect of a caregiver to your child than you.
That said, given the unpredictability of life, a decision has to be made and revisited frequently in light of latest developments and events, so you can be rest assured that you have mad ethe right decision.
- Elderly parents are not the ideal choice
People often tend to choose the grandparents of the child as the legal guardians. It might seem like a no-brainer given that they did a great job raising you, right?
While the grandparents may be an acceptable option, you should also factor in how old they will before your child has come of age.
Due to their age, they may not be the ideal choice for guardianship for an adolescent or even a teenager. However, if you follow through with your decision to appoint the grandparents anyway, make sure that you have someone in mind as a backup. The substitute guardian can also help out the grandparents in raising the minor.
- 4. Age and finances are essential factors
It’s essential to consider a potential guardian’s age and financial position before appointing them. Financial considerations are crucial, since taking care of a minor is extra financial burden on the guardian’s expenses.
Ask the candidate for guardianship whether or not they’d be willing to take on those extra expenses of raising a young one along with their current expenses.
- Religious & Moral Beliefs
Choose a guardian with similar moral and religious beliefs as you to ensure that your child is raised in a way that you would’ve wanted him to be raised. Although finding someone with almost identical beliefs as you can be next impossible, you can settle for someone with some form of moral compass than someone without scruples.
Although godparents aren’t considered guardians by law, you can unquestionably designate your child’s godparents on their birth certificate.
- Don’t leave it up to the court
Leaving behind a minor without naming its legal guardian in advance can have severe complications in most states. Minors need a guardian to look after their everyday affairs and take care of their estate (if designated in the will.)
The court will appoint a guardian and conservator for the child if you fail to do so yourself. You shouldn’t be leaving it to the court to decide as the chances of your child ending up with a wrong guardian are greater. When appointing guardian, ask the child’s opinion as to whether or not they are comfortable with the choice of the guardian.
For the sake of your child’s future, you need to draw up a will if you haven’t already done so. Settling on a suitable guardian for your child will be the most important decision you will make during the process of writing a will. Failing to do so will only result in your child getting a court-appointed guardian, that may or not be to your preferences or in the interest of your child. When choosing a guardian, make sure they are financially stable, have impeccable morals, willing to take up the responsibility, and have an affection toward the child.