Your children are the most important people in your life and protecting them is your top priority. Designating a guardian for your children is an important step in protecting your children. While we do not want to consider the possibility that we might not be alive to see our children grow up, designating a guardian is an important estate planning step that we all must consider to ensure that our children will be cared for should the unthinkable happen.
When Designating a Guardian, Know the Person
We cannot stress enough how important it is that you know the person you are choosing as the guardian for your children. You might think this is something that does not need to be said when counseling a person on designating a guardian for his or her children; however, when we say, “know the person” we mean “spend time with that person.” It is not enough that the person you are choosing as a guardian is someone who is close to you — you need to really “know” that person.
You need to know the person’s parenting style, morals, ethics, beliefs, lifestyle choices, and personal habits. Designating a guardian is much more than simply choosing the person your child will live with when you die. It is about choosing the person who will shape your child’s future and the person that your child will become as an adult.
The Practical Considerations When Designating a Guardian
Of course, you must also consider practical matters when designating a guardian. Does this person have a home that is big enough for your children? Is this person in good health and can this person provide financially for your children? Financial considerations are important when designating a guardian for your children. You want to ensure that the person who will take care of your children will have the ability to provide a stable and safe home. This is largely dependent on whether that person is financially stable.
Furthermore, is this person someone you trust to manage your child’s inheritance. Has this person had problems managing his or her own finances? In some cases, you may need to designate a guardian for the physical care of your child and another person to manage the inheritance. In this case, you need to ensure both parties get along with each other and can work with each other for the best interests of your children.
Designating a Guardian Needs to be Done Now
Do not put off designating a guardian for your children because you are not guaranteed tomorrow. Unfortunately, unexpected tragedies happen every day and you must take steps now to ensure your children are protected if something should happen to you and to your spouse. Designating a guardian for your children is one of the most important things that you will do for your children; therefore, it can be overwhelming.
One key thing to remember is that you can change this designation if circumstances change. It is not uncommon for parents to designate a new person to serve as guardian as their children grow up and their circumstances change. Our attorney can help you as you go through the process of designating a guardian for your children by offering practical advice and guidance as you make one of the most important decisions in your child’s life.
Madison Probate and Estate Planning Attorneys
The attorneys of Krause Donovan Estate Law Partners, LLC practice law in the areas of Probate, Wills, Estate Planning, and Trusts. We assist clients in and around Madison, Wisconsin with all matters pertaining to these areas of law. We personalize our services to meet the needs of each client and our attorneys make house calls for our clients if they are unable to come to our office. Contact our office by calling (608) 268-5751 to schedule a consultation or use our online contact form.
Image credit: Steve Slater