If something happens to you, what will happen to your children? Although it is painful to think about, planning for your children’s possible future without you is an act of love and show of responsibility. But although deciding to write a will is easy, deciding who will care for your kids can be quite difficult. Below, we’ve shared eight tips for parents who are choosing a guardian for their children:
- Think about the best interests of your child. This is not the time to worry about your mother-in-law’s hurt feelings or your sister feeling left out. This is the time to think about which home your children will thrive in and who will give your children the love and affection they will need.
- Don’t rule out non-relatives. Although there are advantages to choosing family members (family may have similar cultural or religious backgrounds, for starters), your children may be best suited to be raised by friends. If your child has a close relationship with a family in your community, they may be an ideal choice for guardian.
- Be practical. Realize that although your grandmother might be the best person in the world, she is probably too old to raise your baby. And realize that if your perfect choice already has eight kids, adding yours might not be ideal for anyone. Look beyond the person and consider what the reality will be.
- Think about values. Some people only consider factors like location and relation when it comes to guardians, but the truth is that these people will raise your children: they will make important decisions related to your kids’ health, safety, morals, philosophies, social values, and religious beliefs. It isn’t enough that your uncle has a big house and lives in your school district – will he be a loving and kind guardian?
- Realize that no one is perfect. Yes, we want the absolute best for our children. But we should also realize that no one can be the perfect parent (not even us). The reality is that even your best options will have drawbacks. Just be sure to pick someone who fulfills your most important requirements.
- Ask permission. Speak to the family or friends that you are considering. Be open and honest about what you are requesting as well as what you can offer them in terms of financial assistance – such as how much insurance you have. Give them time to think it over.
- Understand you might need two guardians. Many people don’t know that they can choose one guardian for their children’s estate (or trust) and a separate guardian for their children’s physical care. If your top choice for guardian of person isn’t good with finances, consider someone else for that aspect of the job.
- Know you can change your mind. Your choice isn’t written in stone. Sometimes things change (death, divorce, differences of opinion) and you will needs to change, too. Just be sure not to put off updating your legal documents, or your children could end up being raised by someone other than who you had in mind.
Once you have made your choice, a Silicon Valley estate planning attorney can help you make your decision official. To book a consultation today – or to get your questions about California guardianship law answered – call The Law Office of Janet Brewer today: (650) 325-8276.