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Guardians for Minor Children

If you have minor children, one of the most important estate planning tasks is choosing a guardian if the parents are deceased.  While this is an infrequent occurrence, it could be the most important one parents can make.  Among the things to consider are:

  1. Are there adequate resources to cover the cost of raising the child?
  2. Where will the children live?  Will the guardians move in with the children, or vice versa?  Is the home large enough?
  3. If grandparents are possible guardians, is their age an issue?
  4. Does the prospective guardian share the same values regarding child rearing, religion, finances, education and discipline?
  5. Will other family members respect and support your decision on naming of guardians, or might there be a contest as to who should be appointed.
  6. Is the guardian likely to have a job change that may result in moving out of state?
  7. Is there compatibility between the guardian’s family and your children?

Thoughtfully considering these issues prior to an appointment with an estate planning attorney will facilitate the process.  We encourage many of our clients with minor children to write a detailed letter to their named guardians, expressing their hopes, fears and aspirations for their children in the event the parents die prematurely.  Such a letter acts as a guide for the guardians and gets the parents thinking about what they would want for their children.