If you have minor children, your will should name a guardian to care for them in the event of your death. Although a court will need to appoint the guardian, most courts will follow your wishes. If your children’s other parent survives you, he or she will usually have the right to raise the children unless the other parent is not willing or is unsuitable for other reasons.
Choosing a guardian for your children is one of the most difficult decisions a person needs to make when preparing estate planning documents. A guardian’s responsibilities are very broad. Essentially, the guardian will step into your shoes and be responsible for raising your child or children.
Some Things to Consider
Someone who has children similar in age to yours and knows what raising children entails might be a better choice than your brother who works 80 hours a week and travels frequently.
Is it important for you to pick a guardian in the same geographical area that you currently reside? If your guardian is located out of state does that present challenges for visiting family and friends? If children have to move away in addition to the loss of a parent, they will experience additional loss and upheaval.
It might be your preference to keep your school-age children in the same school or school district, if possible.
Keeping Children Together.
If you want to keep your children together, as most parents do, specify this desire in your will. Make sure your guardian has the physical, emotional, and financial resources to care for all your children (although presumably, you will leave an inheritance to provide at least some support your children).
Guardian’s Age and Health.
Grandparents might seem like a good choice now, but if your children are young, how old will the grandparents be when your children are teenagers?
If you have specific ideals or religious beliefs that you want your children raised with, it might be best to pick a guardian who shares these ideals and beliefs.
Familiarity with your Children.
Your death will undoubtedly be a traumatic experience and cause much stress to your children. You may want to consider someone your children know personally.
If you are not able to provide sufficient financial resources to raise your children to adulthood, the financial burden may fall on your guardian. This is an issue you should discuss in advance with your potential guardian.
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At Kramer, Green, Zuckerman, Greene & Buchsbaum, P.A., we offer comprehensive legal services so that we can protected your assets and minimize your costs when you are going through the sale of your business. We are here to help you navigate the complex legal problems that often during the sale of a business in the most efficient manner possible. Call us at (954) 884-8385 or find out more about our legal services online. Set up a time to talk to us about your legal needs today.