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Who Will Be Your Child's Guardian If You Die? And How Do You Decide?

Do you have a minor child? Were you told that you needed to name a guardian for your minor child? For families with minor children, it seems the "to-do" list is constantly increasing. From balancing work and home life, playing chauffeur for various events and activities, managing homework and meal prep, grocery shopping, filling up the tank, and everything else that happens to occur in any given day, thinking about your unexpected death seems to fall to the bottom of the priority list. Who wants to think about guardians anyway: it is unpleasant, emotional, and for many families today, difficult to identify people who you would trust enough to raise your children. Failing to name a guardian for your child could result in a family member, ex-spouse, or even the courts identifying the person to raise your child. For all of these reasons and more, it is essential that you make time to think about who you would consider to raise your children in the event of your early death. Then, choose the potential guardian(s) of your children and implement your plan through appropriate legal documents. Some important elements to consider when working through this decision are as follows: What are your core values and beliefs? Is it important to you that your child's guardian continue to instill those values and beliefs in your child?

  • Is it important for a blood relative to raise your child? If not, then have you considered a friend or even a professional guardian instead?

  • Is it important that your child be raised in a two-parent household and if so, what would you want to occur in the event of a divorce or the death of one of the co-guardians?

  • Is locality important and if so, what are you willing to provide so that a guardian could relocate to your child?

  • Does the age of your child matter in identifying a guardian? Specifically, would you prefer to choose one guardian over the other if your child was a preschooler verses if that child was a teenager?

  • Have you asked your older children whether they would be willing to act as guardian for their younger siblings?

  • In the event your primary guardian is unable or unwilling, do you have an alternative, a plan B, and even a plan C?

The most important element to consider, however, is that the guardian would love and care for your child. It is true that no one will love your child as you do, and for that reason, you should make thinking about identifying and implementing your plan for the guardian of your child a top priority in 2022. If you want to learn more about other considerations in choosing a guardian for your minor child or if you want to learn what legal documents you would need to implement your wishes for your chosen guardian, please call Rehberg Law Group at 206.246.8772

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