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Creating a GRIT could have some benefits

Naming a Guardian for Your Children

"Why naming a guardian for your child is important."

Many young couples with children and bills to pay may look at you askance, when asked about estate planning and say, “what estate?” However, a critical part of having a will—one frequently overlooked—is naming a guardian for your children. If you don’t name a guardian, it could result in issues for your children after your death. Your child might even be placed in a foster home.

For a young family, naming a guardian for their children is another good reason to draft a will. If you and your spouse die together with no guardian specified in a will, the guardian will be chosen by the court.

In a worst-case scenario, if you have no close family or no one in your family who can take your child, the court will send them to foster care, until a permanent guardian can be named.

The judge will collect as much information as possible about your children and family circumstances to make a good decision.

However, the judge won’t have any intimate knowledge of who you know or which of your relatives would be good guardians. This could result in a choice of one of the last people you might pick to take care of your child.

Try to find common ground when naming a guardian for your children, by agreeing to a set of criteria you want in that person. This could include the following:

  • The potential guardian’s willingness to be a guardian
  • The potential guardian’s financial situation
  • Where the child might live with that person
  • The potential guardian’s values, religion, or political beliefs
  • The potential guardian’s parenting skills; and
  • The potential guardian’s age and health.

Next, make a decision, get the chosen guardian’s consent, write it all down, and then set out to create a will.

Naming a guardian for your children need not be a difficult event. Ask an experienced estate planning attorney to help you do it correctly.

If you would like to learn more about guardianship and other needs for young families, please visit our previous posts. 

Reference: Lifehacker (Oct. 27, 2020) “Why You Should Name a Guardian for Your Kids Right Away”