Preparing for the Worst: Guardianship for Your Children
When parents pass away and leave behind minor children, those children will be placed under the supervision of a guardian either appointed in their estate plan or named by the court. These situations are made exponentially easier if parents have set up arrangements for a personal guardian for such circumstances.
Personal guardians are individuals who will serve as parental figures for another’s children in the event that the parents cannot raise the children. These people may be other family members or close, personal friends. In any event, they are people who have agreed ahead of time to serve this role. You may legally name more than one guardian, but this can cause confusion later, so it is often best to choose a primary guardian as well as an alternate if that person cannot serve.
Choosing a guardian is, of course, a huge undertaking. Though no one could take the place of a parent, a guardian should nonetheless be someone who is fit to provide appropriate time, attention and love to a child. There are a number of factors one should consider when choosing a guardian including the person’s age, the relationship that person has with your children, the person’s financial situation, whether that person has other children and whether that person shares your moral and religious values.
When you have selected a person who you think best exemplifies the characteristics of an appropriate guardian, you should then approach him or her about it. Make sure the person is entirely aware of what the responsibility would entail before he or she agrees to it. You want to make sure that any potential guardian is willing and committed to the possibility should it arise.
After your guardian has agreed to serve in this role, consider meeting with an attorney to help draft the appropriate documents to legally establish this arrangement. The knowledgeable Florida estate planning attorneys at Charles Law Office can assist in this manner.