Naming a guardian for a young child in a Will can be one of the hardest decisions a parent has to make. There is no one that could ever replace you as the parent of your children. Many parents put off executing an estate plan all together because they simply cannot decide who they want to name. However, regardless of how difficult this task may be, if you don’t want the decision to be left entirely to a judge, then it has to be made. Moreover, failing to have critical documents in place can harm your family more than the risk of naming the wrong person as a guardian.
If you are stuck and cannot chose a guardian, here are some factors you should consider:
An imperfect decision is better than no decision and it helps to think in terms of the next five years. For example, your parents may be a good decision for now, while your kids are in elementary school, but not the best choice down the road when your children become teenagers. Plus, over time the important people in your life may change, and you can always amend your Will to reflect these changes. And remember, this does not have to be a blood relative. Often times children are closer to “family friends” than to their aunts or uncles.
Unfortunately, for many families, there is someone who the parents would never wanted to be named guardian of their children. Addressing this in a legal document is important in order to protect your children from a judge placing them with that person.
Letting this decision stop you from executing an estate plan is a mistake many parents make. But having something in place is better than nothing, and you can always change your decision down the road. If you have questions about how to approach this difficult decision, please contact Lauren Miller of Ladimer Law Office PC at (508) 620-4565.
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Ladimer Law specializes in estate planning. We protect our clients, their heirs, and their assets by listening closely, knowing the law, and executing estate plans that fit and evolve.