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Choosing a Legal Guardian: One of the Most Important Decisions a Parent Makes

 Posted on May 19, 2016 in Estate Planning

choosing a legal guardian, DuPage County Estate Planning AttorneyMaking legal plans to ensure that your family is taken care of in the event of your death is not an easy subject to consider. It can be even more difficult for those who are parents of young children.

Although none of us want to think that we will not live long enough to see our children grow up into adulthood and have children of their own, the sad fact is that many parents pass away when their children are still minors. Therefore, it is important to have these plans in place, including who would be the legal guardian to your child in the event both of his or her parents die. If you do not make the decision while you are still alive, the state will make that decision when you are gone.

Often, when parents are having the discussion over who should be the legal guardian of their child, they disagree. The father may want a relative from his side of the family, while the mother may think one of her relatives would be the best choice. However, there are certain questions that parents can ask themselves as they make their list of the pluses and minuses for each of their choices.

One of the first questions to look at is just how close is your child to the person you want to be his or her guardian. Is your child comfortable with this person and do they have history together? The closer the person you are considering is to your child, the easier a difficult transition will be.

Another item to look at is whether or not the person you are considering shares the same values that you do. Will this person raise your child in the same environment—morally, religiously, politically—that you would have provided if you were still alive?

If the potential guardian has children of his or her own, you will also want to look at his or her parenting style and whether or not it is like your own. Do you feel he or she is overly strict, or maybe he or she is overly permissive with their child? How involved is he or she in their own child's life and will there be room for your own child in their home?

The age of the potential guardian also is something that needs to be considered, as well as their health. This is especially true if you are considering your parents as the guardian. Raising a child is a lot of work and demands a lot of time. Is your parent up to it? Additionally, if there are health issues, what will happen to your child if your parent dies or becomes incapacitated?

Where the potential guardian lives is also something to weigh. Does he or she live in the same town or will your child be required to move away from his or her home, friends, school, and other activities? This may not matter as much with younger children, but can be devastating to a teenager, especially one who is also dealing with the loss of his or her parent or parents.

Choosing a guardian is difficult, but the decision can be made easier with the help of an experienced DuPage County estate planning attorney, who can help guide you through the legal process of deciding and preparing the legal documents necessary. Call Stock, Carlson & Asso. LLC at 630-665-2500 to schedule your consultation today.


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