When people do their estate planning as parents, they often pick guardians for their children. These individuals say that if anything happens to the parents, they will raise the children and take care of them. Of course, they hope to never have to serve in this role at all, but it gives the parents peace of mind and makes the process far easier on the kids should something happen.
But what do parents want in a guardian? A few attributes they may seek out include:
- Values that are similar to their own
- A similar parenting style
- The same goals for the children
- Financial stability that makes raising kids possible
- General good health
- Good character
- A pre-existing relationship with the children
You cannot plan for everything, of course. For instance, someone could have financial stability and good health when they agree to be the guardian, but they could lose their job or come down with a terminal illness in the next 10 years. However, by starting with these things, parents can find the perfect candidates. Additionally, if something significant changes in the guardians’ life, the parents can always update the estate plan and pick someone else.
In situations like this, it’s very important for everyone who is involved to know their legal rights. That starts with the parents as they look into their options and get the plan in place. It then extends to the guardians themselves who, if they do need to step into that role in the future, have to know what steps to take and what obligation they now have.