One of the most important reasons that parents of minor children need to make a Will, is to name guardians to care for their children in the event neither parent is available. Sabrina Winters, who writes the North Carolina Estate Planning Information Blog has a recent post listing 10 Items to Consider When Choosing a Guardian For Your Children. Aside from the usual age and health of the guardians, she has some unique tips:
- Does your child actually like this person? You
may think he or she is the perfect person to raise your child, but if
your child does not have or show the same feelings towards that person,
you may be causing more harm than good.
- How drastic will your child’s daily life change?
Think about whether your child will have to move (in or out of state)
or change schools. This could be a difficult transition without having
just lost your parents. Imagine how difficult that would be if it is
due to your parents passing away.
- Does this person have pets? If your child has
allergies which may be drastically affected by living in a home with a
pet, that home may not be the best place for your child to live. Many
people will not give up their pets that easily.
- What type of job does this person have? Think
about whether that person has to travel for work or has a job that is
considered dangerous. This may mean that your child may have to go to
daycare (not that that is a bad thing) or potentially even be faced
with loosing another loved one.
- Would you live with this person? You cannot expect your child to live with someone if you could not see yourself living with this person!
As you can see, there are many factors to consider when choosing a guardian for your child, and this can be an area that prevents people from moving forward with their estate plan. Your attorney can help you by explaining what responsibilities the guardian will have, as well as what protections can be put into place to make sure that any money you leave for your children will be spent appropriately.
See my past post on choosing guardians for your children for more information.