Choosing a guardian for a minor child is an important part of estate planning. Without one, if both parents die before the child turns 18, the court will decide who will care for the child.
Having the discussion may not be easy, but parents need to outline what is important in terms of child rearing and decide who the best candidate is.
Different types of guardianships
According to U.S. News, there are two types of guardianship: of the person and of the estate. Parents can choose the same person for both roles or choose two separate people. The guardian of the person is who the child lives with and who is responsible for the child’s daily and basic needs. The guardian of the estate manages the child’s inheritance.
The estate guardian should be knowledgeable about, and responsible with, money and investments. He or she should also be firm as to how the child is able to spend the money. The guardian of the person often has a separate skill set.
Factors to consider when choosing a guardian
According to Forbes, the first step when considering guardians is to consider values and what is important for the child’s upbringing, such as education, culture exposure, travel or music. Based on this, parents should begin to list potential contenders. They may want to consider single people rather than couples, as relationships can change, and this complicates things. Some additional factors to consider:
- Physical and mental health
- Financial stability
- Additional siblings
One of the most important things is that the guardian loves and cares for the child. He or she should also want the role. It is a good idea to choose a second and third option.