Protecting Estates.
Protecting Legacies.

How to choose a guardian for your minor children

If you have children under the age of 18 and you have not named a guardian for them in the event both you and your partner die, it is time to update your estate plan. A guardian is the person who will have custody and manage each child’s property.

Choosing this person is often not an easy decision. However, it is important, and there are factors you should consider while weighing your options.

Person vs estate guardianship

The California Courts discusses the differences between two types of guardianship. When you name a guardian, this individual takes care of the child and has legal and physical custody, just as you do as a parent. If, upon death, your child will receive property and assets from your estate, you would be wise to name someone as the guardian of the estate as well. This person is in charge of protecting the assets and managing the money until the child turns 18. Depending on the situation, you may want to name one person to have custody of the child and another as the estate guardian.

Skills and values to look for in a guardian

The skills and values depend largely on what is important for you in terms of raising your child. According to U.S. News and World Report, it is a good idea to choose someone with similar beliefs and values as you. It makes sense to choose someone who already has a good relationship with your child and who lives close, as the less your child’s life changes the better. Also keep in mind the guardian’s work schedule, age and financial situation to ensure he or she will be able to properly care for your child.

You may look for different skills and values in an estate guardian. This person should be trustworthy, good with money and knowledgeable about investing. He or she should also be able to form boundaries for when the child gets older and begins asking for money and other things.

Additional tips on naming a guardian

If you are thinking of naming a married couple as guardians, it is better to name just one of the two. This prevents issues in the event they split up in the future. It is also a good idea to name an alternate guardian. If you have multiple children, you can name different guardians for each one, if you prefer.

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