It’s not a question anyone wants to think about, but it is an important one. Making sure your children are protected if the unthinkable were to happen is one of the most important gifts you can give them. Most parents know how stressful and chaotic any change can be for a child—especially very young children—and setting a plan in place now can help minimize the impact such an event would have on your children.
There are several issues to consider when choosing a guardian for your children, some obvious, and some you may never have thought about. For example, where does the potential guardian live? If they live in another state, will your children go to live with them, or would the guardian be able to relocate to your children? It may take some time for such a relocation to be feasible. Is there someone close by who could act as temporary guardian until the permanent guardian arrives? How closely do the potential guardian’s religious beliefs and parenting practices mirror your own?
These are only a few of the many important questions to consider when choosing a potential guardian for your children, and of course, some of these questions may be more important to one family than another. Regardless, all families with minor children should make sure they have a plan in place.
Most parents aren’t aware that just having a will is often not enough to ensure their children are protected; many attorneys leave out guardianship, or do not go into any more detail than simply designating a guardian. Some attorneys, however, offer custom guardianship documents, which are unique to your family, and address issues such as religious preference, education, discipline, and much more. A customized guardianship document will ensure not only that your children have a guardian—but that the guardian will continue to raise and care for your children in the way that you would do so yourself.