If you’re making an estate plan as a new parent, one of your major areas of focus may be on choosing a guardian for your child. If something unexpected happens, you want to know that someone is there to care for them. Perhaps this is even what spurred the estate planning initially.
But what should you look for when choosing a guardian? This is an important decision, so here are some things to keep in mind.
Health, age and ability
To start with, it’s often not wise to pick elderly parents. They feel like a natural fit because they are your parents, and they love their grandchildren. But due to their age, they could have health complications in the future that make it difficult for them to actually have the ability to care for your child long-term.
Additionally, you want to find someone who is going to raise the children similarly to you. They should have similar values, whether that means education, health, religion or something else entirely. It can be hard to find a perfect fit because no one is going to raise your child exactly like you would. But you should find someone who is at least similar so it is not as drastic of a transition for the children.
Finally, it can be helpful to think about money. Raising a child is incredibly expensive. Does the person you’re choosing even want that responsibility? Do they have the financial means to cover the costs of raising your child? If you’re picking someone who already has their own children, how would your child fit into their family?
Once you determine who the right person is, it’s time to take the proper legal steps to set up a guardianship as part of your estate plan.