Guardianship & Providing for Minor Children: Appointing a Guardian
Appointing a guardian helps avoid conflict.
When it comes to appointing a guardian for your minor children, there may be conflict that arises between you and your spouse regarding who is going to fill this role. Try to avoid legal controversy about who is to be legal guardian, if at all possible. If you and your spouse are not able to agree on who will fill this role and do not appoint a guardian, the state will decide for you. One way to avoid this is to be sure to leave some instruction for your family about who is to be guardian.
Appointing a guardian – think about it.
For instance, you may choose your brother and sister-in-law to be guardian. Before doing so, there are some questions you should ask yourself:
What if your brother and sister-in-law divorced?
Would they still be an appropriate option for guardian of your children?
If it is really your sister-in-law who would be a great parent, should she be named individually?
What if your brother and sister-in-law already have minor children? How well would your children transition into their family?
These are all important questions that you should ask yourself when appointing a guardian for your minor children.
Providing for your child financially.
While there are many considerations when making decisions about guardianship for your minor children, one of the most important is choosing how to provide financially for your minor children. You may want to consider leaving your assets in trust to benefit your children. The appointed guardian may serve as Trustee, or you could choose a different individual or professional to serve as Trustee. You may also consider creating a stipend for the guardian while they are providing care for your children. Another option is to make your family home become theirs after your passing. There are many options to consider in your documents to provide for your children and their appointed guardian after you pass.
Regardless of what you choose, the first step should be speaking with an estate planning attorney about your options.
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