If you have children under legal age (19 years old), it’s critical to ensure they’re taken care of should something happen to you unexpectedly and you’re unable to be their caregiver due to accident or death. Here’s what you need to know when you hire a guardianship lawyer to help you appoint a legal guardian for your children.
Choosing a guardian
For some, this is an easy choice. For others with more complicated family structures, it can be more difficult. Often parents choose grandparents, a sibling, or cousin, but that is not always the case. You can choose anyone you wish as long as they meet the criteria, and they accept.
As guardianship lawyers, we often suggest that you make a list of the traits and values you want your children to be raised under. This can help you find a family member or close friend who shares the same belief systems and values. Also, listen to your instincts when choosing a guardian.
The guardian you choose must agree to commit to the task of raising a child so it’s important to consult them before making your decision to make sure it’s something they are willing and able to take on.
This person should be physically and mentally capable of caring for your child, in addition to any other children or responsibilities they have. Make sure it’s someone that can provide a stable upbringing based on your values and that it’s someone you trust.
You chosen guardian will become your children(s) sole caregiver, and as such would be responsible for making all decisions in the best interest of the child. This includes making health and well-being decisions and managing their financial interests until they become an adult at 18 years old.
Legally appointing your guardian
A guardianship lawyer can help you add your chosen guardian(s) to your Last Will and Testament. You can also choose an alternate guardian should your first choice not be able to care for your children for any reason.
Don’t forget that even though you have put this in your Will, a guardianship lawyer can help you change it at any time if you change your mind, or for any other reason. Don’t forget that if you do not have a legal document explaining who will care for your children upon your passing or incapacitation, the courts will decide what is in the best interests of the child, and that may not be what you want for your children.
Ensure your child is protected and raised with the values you choose by appointing a legal guardian for your children now. If you would like one added to your current will or need to create a Will, contact one of our experienced guardianship lawyers who can help you ensure your children get the future you dream for them.