Becoming a parent is joyful and also terrifying. New parents often struggle with the weight of responsibility for being the primary provider for another living being. For the first few years, that new life is entirely dependent on outside support.
Even after children start school, they will need intensive education, daily guidance and ongoing financial support. Parenting is demanding and expensive. Although most parents expect to see their children into adulthood and beyond, some will pass away when their children are still young.
A guardian will potentially be able to step into a parental role for the benefit of a child who has recently lost a parent. It is very important for new parents to select a potential guardian or guardians for their minor children and to make that selection known in their estate plans. When choosing who should serve in this role, parents consider a variety of critically important information about their loved ones who are potentially capable of taking on this responsibility in the event that doing so becomes necessary.
They look at what the children need and what people can provide
Long-term relationships lead to having a deeper understanding of what people are truly like and how well they would handle the pressure of caring for a child. Close friends and family members are often the first candidates that people consider when looking for a guardian for their children.
The best candidates are young enough to handle the rigors of raising a child but old enough to be mature and dependable. Parents often prioritize those who have a pre-existing relationship with the children, but someone reliable and compassionate may be a good option even if they don’t spend time with the children currently.
Honestly assessing the needs of the children in the family and the capabilities of those who could serve as a guardian can help parents select a list of potential candidates.
Willingness to step up is also key
It would not benefit anyone if a parent were to name a guardian who was unaware of that choice and unwilling to fulfill that role. Discussing guardianship needs with viable candidates is a key step for parents in the process of creating estate plans or updating them for the optimal protection of their children.
Those who would likely make good candidates should also agree to step up if necessary. That way, they can prepare themselves mentally and be ready should anything happen to the parent(s).
Selecting the right guardian is one of the most important estate planning steps a parent can take to protect their children from the dangers of facing life without proper adult support. Asking an attorney for their guidance can be helpful if parents are unsure of who should serve in this role for their children specifically.