Picking a Guardian for Your Child: 5 Questions to Ask

Updated: 4 days ago

When you are expecting a baby, imagining a world for them without you would likely be the last thing on your mind, but you will be glad you considered who would take care of your child if you were not around. How to account for this possibility? Come up with a guardianship plan in your last Will and testament and not just assume that, say, your parents or in-laws would save the day.

Planning to protect young children in the event that both parents pass away is a huge responsibility. You want to make sure your child is protected under all circumstances while playing the what would happen if game can be grisly. In such planning, try asking some hypothetical questions to ensure your child will be in the best possible hands if the worst were to occur.

1. What Do You Want Your Child's Life to Look Like?
2. Who Would You Want to Be Your Child's Guardian?
3. What Is Your Financial Plan for Your Child?
4. Does Your Guardianship Appointee Still Make Sense?
5. Who Could Drop Everything and Watch Your Child Immediately?

1. What Do You Want Your Child's Life to Look Like?

This is also something you can discuss with the legal guardian you eventually appoint. It may be important to you that the guardian relocate, at least temporarily.

You may also want to think about choosing a guardian who will impart the values you care about.

2. Who Would You Want to Be Your Child's Guardian?

A lot of loved ones would, if worst comes to worst, probably step up to the plate but talking about the possibility can help you suss out who will thrive on the challenge.

3. What Is Your Financial Plan for Your Child?

Understand your children's financial future by reading and understanding any life insurance policies you have in place.

You will also probably want to decide how assets would be distributed to your children and their guardians, whether by creating either a trust fund or a guardianship.

Unlike a legal guardian, a financial guardian does not need a background in finance or law, you might ask, "Who would make the wisest financial decisions for my children?" Note that a legal guardian does not necessarily need to be the same person a s a financial guardian. They are often the same, however.

In any event, inform all relevant parties about your choice before you write or update your last Will and testament, to make sure they're clear of your wishes.

4. Does Your Guardianship Appointee Still Make Sense?

It’s important to update your guardian appointment as situations change.

You may have named your child’s grandparents back when your child was a new-born. But flash forward a decade or two, your parents may then be less active and facing health problems. Meanwhile, other family members may have started families of their own who could be a better fit. It’s all about remaining flexible and adaptable.

5. Who Could Drop Everything and Watch Your Child Immediately?

While you name a guardian in your Will, it is important to make sure you have a secondary guardian designation who can immediately step in if your main guardian is not immediately available. Having a secondary guardian designation, like a trusted friend or family member, ensures that your child will never end up in state custody.

At the end of the day, the most important thing is to ensure your child has a safe, loving home, no matter what happened to you.

It is also equally important to let your guardians-to-be know their designation and let those you didn't choose in on your decision.

While these conversations may not be pleasant, the peace of mind they provide is priceless.

Writing your Will is the very first step, and it’s an important one. But that’s not enough. In the digital age, the next step is to store your Will online. Otherwise, what happens if your person of confidence is not able to find your Will in a timely manner? liteWill is the only Will registration platform that is available globally and that provides the option to store your Will online. ‘A Will that is not online is like a Will that does not exist’.

This portion of the website is for information only. The statements and opinions are the expression of their author, not of liteWill, and have not been evaluated for accuracy, completeness or changes in the law. Information contained in this article is not a substitute for tax or legal advice.

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