If your children are minors, you should consider creating a guardian plan. A guardian plan allows you to state the person you prefer your children to live with in the event that you and your spouse pass away.
The first step of your guardian plan is considering your options. You and your spouse should list every family member and every friend of the family that is a possible guardian. Don’t exclude anyone until you have completed your list.
List Your Desires
Next, you and your spouse should make a list of all of the features you desire the caregiver to have. Do you prefer for the caregiver to practice a certain religion or to be married instead of single? As you enumerate your wishes, rank which are most important to you. This will help you during the process of narrowing down your list of prospective candidates.
Narrow Your Options
Once you have decided what attributes of a caregiver are most important, you can begin to narrow down your list of possibilities. Get rid of the most obvious non-candidates first, but take your time when your list reaches five to seven people. Your final list should contain two to three names. Having one or two back-ups is important in case your first choice should become unavailable.
Speak with Your Family
Once you have chosen a guardian and a back-up guardian you should speak with these individuals to confirm their feelings on the choice. This gives them the opportunity to advise you if they are not up to the task or if they have obligations that would keep them from taking the position. If your guardian choice is unavailable, you can move to your back-up and reevaluate your list.
During this time you should also speak with your children and possibly other family members to explain your decision and get their input.
Create Your Plan
Once you have your guardian choice firmly in mind, you can put it into writing. Whether you use a Last Will and Testament or a Revocable Living Trust to name your guardian, the most important fact is that you do so to ensure your children’s safety and happiness.
Pyke & Associates, P.C. is a member of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys.