Today we’ll continue our three-part series on how to choose a good Guardian for your minor children. Yesterday, we discussed three key considerations when choosing a Guardian: 1) Parenting Style; 2) Two-Parent Home Issues; and 3) Religious Affiliation.
In today’s post, we’ll consider several more factors that you should consider when choosing a potential Guardian for your minor children:
1) Age/Health of the Potential Guardian
When choosing a Guardian for your child, it is important to consider whether the Guardian you choose will be healthy enough to handle the demanding job of raising children. This factor is especially true when your children are young. It can be exhausting as a parent to deal with night-time feedings, high-energy toddlers, and many of the issues that come with having a small child. So, it is important that you choose a potential Guardian who is up to the challenge. For instance, while your Mom and Dad may be wonderful grandparents, if they both have arthritis and bad knees, they may not be able to adequately care for your rambunctious 2 year old boy.
Likewise, many families want their children to have as much continuity as possible. If you pick a Guardian who, because of their age, is likely to pass away before your children turn 18, your children could be faced with two tragic losses in their life during their formative years–the loss of their parents and the loss of their Guardians. Thus, it is important to think through these issues carefully when choosing a Guardian.
2) Financial Resources of the Potential Guardian
One consideration that often is overlooked when choosing a Guardian is whether or not that Guardian will be able to financially care for your children. Raising a child can be an expensive venture–including expenses for food, clothing, diapers, school supplies, medical care, and more. It is important to consider whether the Guardian you choose would be able to financially handle the expenses associated with raising your child. For instance, if they live in a small home and would need extra space to raise your two children, would they be able to buy a larger home?
One way to help ensure that your Guardian will have enough money to cover these expenses would be to buy a life-insurance policy that could help provide needed cash for the care of your children. You might even set up a Trust so that these proceeds could be easily accessible for such things as adding an additional room onto the Guardian’s home (for your children), providing funds to send your child to a private school, or providing money for plane tickets so that your children could visit their grandparents in another state each year.
All in all, the financial side of picking your Guardian is an important matter, and you should seriously consider whether your potential Guardian would be able to handle the expenses associated with raising your children.
The proximity of your Guardian to your own home can also be an important consideration. Again, continuity can be vital for children who have just lost their parents. It may be gut-wrenching for your children to have to move half-way across the United States right after losing their parents, and doing so would take your children out of their regular school and away from their friends, church, and other stable forces in their life. So, you should carefully consider the proximity of your potential Guardian.
In most cases, it is best to choose a Guardian who lives close to you so that your children will have as much continuity as possible. However, when making this determination, there may be times where a Guardian who lives far away is just the best option available.
So, as you can see, there’s a lot to consider when making this decision. Tomorrow we’ll finish up our series on how to choose a guardian for your minor children.
If you are interested in drafting a Will so that you can name a Guardian for your minor children, call us at 214-886-7633 or visit our Estate Planning Page to find out more.