Palm Springs Law Blog

Monday, July 3, 2023

How to Choose the Right Guardian for Your Young Children

Hopefully, you will live to a ripe old age and watch your children grow from tiny tykes to wonderful, thriving adults. Sadly, life doesn’t always go the way you want it to; there is a chance, no matter how small, that you won’t survive to see your children grow up.

As much as you might not want to think about this possibility, it is one that you should plan for if you want to protect your children. The simplest way to plan for this outcome is to arrange for guardians in case of your demise.

Choosing the Right Guardians

As soon as you have your first child, you choose guardians in case anything happens to you. To ensure that the decision is made the moment your child enters the world, you may even consider selecting guardians while you are pregnant. The following are factors you should consider when making this decision.

Keeping Your Children Together

If you only have one child, this isn’t a problem. But if you have two or more children, you will probably want siblings to stay together. This becomes difficult the more children you have. Few people can easily take in multiple children, especially if they are already parents to children of their own.

Speak to potential candidates about how many children they can handle if necessary. And if you do need to split up your children, try to pick guardians who live near each other and would be willing to let siblings visit freely.

Access to Extended Family

After children have lost their parents, they often need the love of extended family. You want to choose guardians who are on good terms with your extended family and live close enough for regular visits.

One of the easier ways to do this is to choose family members as guardians. Your children will likely feel safer under the care of an aunt or uncle than a family friend.

Age of the Guardians

As much as your parents would probably be willing to take in your children if something happened to you, this may not be a great idea. Small children require a lot of attention and energy. The elderly may not be able to provide this type of care for decades to come.

Financial Stability

While you will try to provide for your children in your will, parents of young children are often just starting in life and don’t have significant resources. The guardians you choose will probably have to cover most of your children’s expenses while they grow up. Choose guardians who have the means to pay for these expenses.

Backup Choices

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is choosing only a single guardian for your children. If circumstances never change, this can turn out fine. However, life is rarely that simple.

You should have backup guardians who can step in if your first choice is unable to take responsibility when the time comes. There are plenty of reasons this could happen. But if you have one or two backups, that shouldn’t be a problem.

Discuss Guardianship with Your Children as They Get Older

When you think your children are old enough to understand what guardianship means, discuss your choices with them to help prepare them for the worst possibility. This discussion will also let them express their preferences if multiple guardianship options are available.

Contact an Estate Planning Lawyer Today

If you have young children or expect to have some soon, take the appropriate steps to protect them. Contact Heritage Legal, an estate planning attorney in Palm Springs, CA, to schedule a consultation about guardianship.

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