Tips For Selecting A Guardian For Your Child

Legal Article

Tips For Selecting A Guardian For Your Child

If you have minor children, perhaps the most important component of your estate plan has nothing to do with your assets. Rather, it involves the decisions regarding who will care for your minor children if you are no longer capable of doing so. This is commonly known as “NOMINATION OF GUARDIAN FOR MINOR CHILDREN”. The selection of a guardian for minor children is one of the toughest decisions that a parent has to make during estate planning. With a little planning, a lot of the frustration can be removed from the process. Typically, the nomination of a guardian is set out in an individual’s will. If you do not have a will, it is critical to have this document prepared to provide an election for your child’s guardian. Tips for selecting a guardian for your child can ensure that your children will receive excellent financial and social care.

With over 20 years of family law practice, I know that every family’s situation is different. However, there are a few basic tips that can help most family’s looking to name potential guardians. First, make a list of people whose values, morals, and judgment are most congruent with yours. Once you have that list, select someone on the list who is financially able to be a guardian to your children. The combination of morals, values, and judgment, AND financially stability are critical to selecting an effective guardian for your minor children. Once you have done this, consult with a trusted attorney to have a will prepared which provides for the nomination of a guardian for your minor child.

How to Select a Guardian for Your Child

While we often focus on the values, morals, and judgment, often parents neglect the financial impact of a guardian. Thus, I like to remind clients of a few questions they should ask themselves once they have made their list of people with the right morals, values, and judgment to be guardian to their children:

First: “Will the guardian be capable of managing your children’s assets?”

Raising children is a daunting task in and of itself. It is critical to make sure that your selection of a guardian is also up to the task of managing any assets that may be set aside for the benefit of your children. If you prefer, you may select separate guardians for your children and their assets. This can ensure that your children and their assets receive the best care.

Second: “Is the person you have selected financially strong?” 

Often parents select guardians for their children without consideration as to whether their selection is financially capable of handling another child. For example, your sister who already has three children may not be in a financial position to accept another child into her home. As we all know there are a lot of hidden costs in raising children. Thus, having a discussion with your prospective guardian can ensure that your decision doesn’t create a financial burden for someone. Additionally, this directly ties into the third and fourth questions I ask parents.

Third: “Will the home of your prospective choice for guardian accommodate your children?”

Imagine your prospective guardian lives in an apartment or a four-bedroom house with three children of their own. In either scenario, how will they properly accommodate your children?

Forth: “How will your guardian determine your children’s living costs?” 

There is no right answer to these questions. However, the exercise of attempting the answer can prove helpful for parents selecting a guardian.

Contact our DC Law Office for More Information

For more information regarding tips for selecting a guardian for your child, please contact Antonoplos & Associates at 202-803-5676. You can also directly schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys.