No one likes to think about who will care for their minor children in the event the child's parents die prematurely. However, responsible parents should plan for this situation, even if it is unlikely to happen, because we all know that accidents and illness can strike without warning.
I have found that people often avoid preparing an estate plan because they don't want to think about death or a husband and wife can't decide on who to appoint as a guardian for minor children. Instead of working through the situation, it is common to just punt and not do anything.
Deciding who will care for your children in the event that you pass away before they turn 18 can be a very difficult decision to make. And no one likes to think about succumbing to an untimely death However, having your wishes documented about who should raise your kids if something happens to you is critical to ensure they are well provided for in your absence.
For those having trouble deciding on a guardian, what follows is some common sense guidelines you may want to consider:
- Do your children know the potential guardian and are they comfortable around him or her? The potential guardian may be suitable in terms of finances and experiences, but would your kids be OK living with that person?
- Is this person fit to raise a child? Sure, your children may love this person now, and the person may seem great around kids at parties or family gatherings, but would he or she be able to handle raising them on their own?
- Would the person be able to handle the huge task of dealing with your children’s grief?
- Does your potential guardian share the same values as you? How closely aligned are they with your beliefs about things such as money, education, religion, discipline, love, etc.?
- If your desired guardian is married?
- Where do your kids want to go?
These are just a few of the questions that you must ask yourself when choosing a guardian for your children in the event that you pass away.