Selecting a Guardian for Your Minor ChildrenAccording to a recent survey, only 36% of U.S. parents with minor children have a will. This means that 64% of children do not have a legal guardian selected for them by their parents in the event of the unexpected. Instead, these children will be the subject of guardianship proceedings by the state court system and social services department. In the same way that parents aim to protect their children during life, parents should act to avoid such circumstances and instead ensure their children are well taken care of in the event something where to happen to them.
Choosing a guardian can be overwhelming. Many couples have not finalized their will and estate plans simply because they cannot agree on a guardian. Parents should not delay for this reason. Parents should think about what qualities are most important to them in a possible future caretaker for their children. Consider the following questions:
- Who will love your children in your absence?
- Who will afford your children a safe, stable environment?
- Are there social or religious qualities that are important to you?
- Where do you want your children to live and be raised?
- Who has qualities you respect and admire and would want passed on to your children?
- Would a family member or close friend be a better caretaker?
- Who would honor your memory?
Importantly, parents should identify 2 or 3 possible guardians, to ensure a back-up plan in the event one or more guardians are unable or unwilling to act as guardian. After you’ve agreed on a list of possible guardians, schedule a time to talk to each person about the issue of guardianship. Tell them: “We are meeting with our attorney to work on our estate plans and would like to talk to you about a few issues that are important to us.”
When you’re ready to have that conversation, here are some issues you should cover:
- The ask: “We’ve thought a lot about the type of person/family we’d like to help raise our children in the event we were to pass away unexpectedly. We would be honored if you would consider acting as guardian of our children.” Let them know if there are family, religious, emotional, social, or other reasons that were important to you in selecting them as a possible guardian. You can also let them know if there are qualities or beliefs you hope they pass on to your children.
- The arrangements you’ve made: “We’re meeting with our estate planning attorney to finalize ours wills/trust. We intend to make sure you are provided with the necessary finances to care for our children.” You may want to mention if you’ve purchase life insurance or have set up trusts to assist them financially. You can also discuss if you will allow them the choice to live in your home while they are raising your children.
- Give them time: “We know this is a big responsibility. Please think about it and let us know if you will act as guardian.” Tell them when your next meeting with your attorney is and ask that they get back to you by then.
Contributing Attorney: Allison Kierman is an attorney at Kierman Law, PLC where she provides assistance with estate planning and business consulting.
what paper work do i need to give someone gaurdianship
My sister and her husband are divorcing and he will get custody of their two boys. He is active in the Military and currently overseas. He will be returning late September and they wish for my husband and I to care for them for a few months due to my sister moving out of state. I would like some form of legal documentation to be able to enroll them in school and seek medical care if needed. What is the quickest, easiest, and least court dependent way to do this? All parties are in agreement.
my mom abuses me, but I don't want to call DCFS unless I can go live with my dad, who has zero custody of me. is that possible for them to send me to my dads?
I am a single mother of 6 children. 4 of them belong to my first husband and the baby belongs to my last husband but the next to youngest does not have any contact with her father. He does not want to have anything to do with her. I have joint legel custody of all of the other children and would like to know what my mother can do to retain that custody or have legal visitation for herself should something happen to me, and become the legal guardian of my next to youngest child since she will have no one else to turn to?
What forms are needed to for Emergency Temporary Guardianship of a Minor in Pinal County for our grandchild?
I want to get guardianship of my grandson who is 16 and living with my ex daughter in law,She is not related to him and does not want custody of him,She is separated from my son,the child belongs to my daughter who lost custody of him what do I need to do please help me
How do I get guardianship of a minor child?
My husband and I have had our grandson since last November. My daughter doesn't make time for her son. She is willing give legal guardianship of my grandson. What do we need to do ?
I want to enroll my little sisters in school, our mother is in Mexico but they won't let me enroll them. My sisters are u.s. citizens my mother is not. She gave me a power of attorney letter giving me right to take care of them. It was notorized in Mexico but they still won't let me enroll them. What do I need?
COULD you please tell me the first steps in removing guardianship from the grand parents who have my son. I would appreciate this very much
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