Have you taken the time to consider who would care for your children in the event of your death? While this may not be something you want to think about, as a responsible parent it is essential. Often times, this is the most difficult decision to choose the right person or persons. But how many times do a married couple get into a car by themselves, or get on a plane, and think to themselves, what if something happens to both of us? Who will raise our children? Yikes, that is a scary thought, but an estate planning lawyer in Rolling Meadows, IL can help you think through your options.
Choosing the appropriate guardian is one of the biggest decisions you will ever make. Here are five tips that can help:
- Think outside the box. Before you make the easy choice, such as your parents or siblings, think about others who may make more sense. For example, close friends may be a better choice for some families.
- Ask first. Before you nominate somebody as the guardian of your child, make sure they are okay with this. This is particularly true if you are going to select somebody outside of your family. Sometimes it seems logical to choose the family member that has no children. But most likely that person would not be equipped to handle raising your children. It is often easier to choose a family already with young children. That way their lives will be complicated, but they have had the experience to work through the complications.
- Don’t focus solely on money. As tempting as it may be to choose the person or couple with the most money, there is more to a good guardian than financial security. In the end, you want to select the person who is best able to care for your child.
- Love is more important than anything. Since you will no longer be around to care for your child, you want to know that he or she is in good hands. You want to know that the guardian will love your child just like one of their own.
- Focus on values. Which people on your short list share your values and philosophies? When answering this question, take the following (among others) into consideration:
- Religious beliefs
- Educational values
- Social values
- Cultural values
- Discipline styles
There are many big decisions to make when creating an estate plan. If you have at least one child, this is even more so the case. When the time comes to choose a guardian for your child, the five tips above will steer you in the right direction.
Thanks to Bott & Associates, Ltd. for their insight into estate planning and how to choose a guardian for children.