Most parents do not want to think about what would happen to their children if they both die. However, it is an important part of the estate planning process.
Choosing a guardian for your child is not easy, as you want to find someone who shares your same parenting styles and beliefs as well as someone who is willing to take on the responsibility. Consider various factors before making a decision.
Types of guardianship
According to U.S. News and World Report, there are two types of guardians. A guardian of the person is the individual who the child lives with and is responsible for daily care. A guardian of the estate is the person who has fiduciary responsibility and manages the child’s inheritance. You can choose a different person for each role or name one for both responsibilities.
Traits for a guardian of the estate
The individual you choose as guardian of the estate should be good with money management, be trustworthy and be able to say no, when appropriate, when the child asks for money. This person should also have good organization and record-keeping skills.
Traits for a guardian of the person
FindLaw discusses valuable traits for a guardian of the person. You should consider people who:
- Share your goals and values
- Are younger and in good health
- Are financially stable
- Are of good moral character
- Are independent and do not give in to influence
When you have narrowed down your choices, have a conversation with each candidate so they know what you want in a guardian, and they express the desire to take on the role in the event something unexpected occurs. It is also a good idea to name an alternate guardian.