How To Choose A Guardian For Your Child
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How To Choose A Guardian For Your Child

No parent wants to think about what will happen to their child in the event of the untimely death of one or both spouses. Unfortunately, unexpected events can happen, and they need to be planned for. Every parent can take steps to provide for their child’s future care. Choosing the right potential guardian is a crucial part of an estate plan. Mistakes can happen during this complicated time, so make sure the team at Ogborne Law, PLC, is there to help guide you through the process.

Why Should You Designate A Guardian For Your Child?

When developing an estate plan or will, it’s important to choose a legal guardian for your children in the event of the untimely death(s). Without naming a legal guardian, your children could face more uncertainty and stress during an already painful time. You can avoid the courts choosing a guardian for you by putting a plan in place while you’re still alive.

How To Designate A Guardian

In order to nominate a guardian for your children, you will need to execute a document that states who will care for them if you pass on. Typically, this provision will be included in an estate plan.

The guardian chosen may have legal responsibility for both your children and their property, yet that is not required. A well-crafted estate plan will document your wishes clearly. It will also contain contingency plans like naming a backup guardian in case your primary choice is unable to fulfill the duties of a guardian. Working with an experienced estate planning attorney is the best way to ensure you have a rock-solid estate plan in place.

8 Common Mistakes Made When Designating A Guardian

Of course, parents can make some common mistakes when naming a guardian for their minor children. Avoiding these mistakes will set up your children for their long-term well-being.

1. Letting The Courts Decide

Failing to nominate a guardian in the first place is one of the most common mistakes a parent can make. The courts will ultimately decide who takes care of your children if you have not named a guardian in your estate plan. Even if the courts get it right, your child will still likely go through a long, stressful period of uncertainty.

2. Not Communicating With Potential Guardian(s)

Avoiding any discussions with the potential guardian(s) is another common mistake. Guardianship is a huge responsibility, and not everyone is up to the task. Have discussions with both primary and secondary guardians to make sure you are making the best choice for your children.

3. Not Communicating Wishes With Your Children

If your children are teenagers, it’s never a bad idea to ask them who they would like to live with. Asking your children will at least give them a say in the process.

4. Not Naming A Backup

Nominating a backup guardian is another essential step in the process. Circumstances can always change, even when you have nominated a willing and capable primary guardian. A backup guardian can ensure your children have someone to care for them if you pass on and the primary guardian is either unable or unwilling to provide care.

5. Choosing Elderly Parents

Many parents do fail to take age and health into account when naming a guardian. Taking care of young children can be demanding, both physically and mentally. Sometimes this responsibility is too much for some individuals to handle. Even if they are willing to serve as guardians, relatives or elderly parents may not be the best choice. Always take these factors into account when nominating primary and secondary guardians.

6. Not Establishing Who Will Not Be A Guardian

It’s also important to explicitly state your wishes that an individual not become the guardian of your children.

7. Failing To Provide Guidance

You can only have so much say when it comes to someone else ultimately raising your children. However, clearly expressing your wishes can provide the potential guardian with a helpful and clear roadmap. An experienced estate planning attorney can help you with these specific instructions.

8. Failing To Document A Financial Plan

It’s no secret that taking care of children can be somewhat difficult financially. It is unfair to put the financial burden of raising your children on an individual or family who cannot afford it. An effective estate plan should always include a financial plan to support your children when you are no longer around.

Speak With Our Estate Planning Attorneys In Phoenix, Arizona Today

Estate planning is the right thing to do for the people you love. It’s another way to say “thank you” to those who love you. Some of the decisions are hard, but at Ogborne Law, we will help you navigate these difficult decisions.

Your Arizona estate planning attorney can help you select a will or trust or both. Your estate solution will work for you. You will have the peace of mind that comes with effective planning for the future. Call 602.343.1435 or contact Ogborne Law with questions.