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Procrastinating when it comes to guardianship can hurt your children

On Behalf of | Apr 25, 2024 | PROBATE & ESTATE ADMINISTRATION - Estate Planning

Nobody likes to think about the unthinkable. However, one of your most important responsibilities as a parent is to help ensure your children’s well-being, even in the event of your absence. This includes creating a plan for their care in the unfortunate event that something happens to you.

While wills and financial planning are crucial estate planning steps, one of the most important steps you can take is to designate a legal guardian for your minor or otherwise dependent children. Here’s why putting off this decision-making process could result in serious consequences for your loved ones.

The importance of choice and stability

Without a designated guardian, the court will decide who raises your children. This can lead to a lengthy and stressful process for your family, with extended relatives or even strangers potentially being placed in a position of enormous responsibility. Choosing a guardian yourself can allow you to help ensure your children are raised by someone you trust and who shares your values. This can provide a sense of stability and continuity during a difficult time.

Considering your children’s needs

When selecting a guardian, prioritize your children’s specific needs and personalities. Think about factors like age, location, lifestyle and values. Would you prefer someone who can replicate your parenting style or someone who can offer a different but equally nurturing environment? Do your children have strong bonds with a particular family member or friend?

Open communication is key

Once you’ve chosen a guardian, have an open and honest conversation with them. Discuss your expectations, your children’s needs and any special instructions you may have. This conversation can allow the guardian to understand your wishes and prepare for the possibility of assuming this significant role. It’s also an opportunity to gauge their willingness and ability to take on this responsibility.

Don’t wait until it’s too late. Setting up guardianship is a relatively simple process, and it can profoundly impact your children’s lives. Seeking counsel can help you to navigate through the legal process and help to ensure that your wishes are documented correctly.