How do I choose a guardian for my child?
The birth of a baby changes pretty just about everything. If you are a new parent, one of the updates you need to effect on your estate plan is your list of beneficiaries as well as the inheritance you plan on bequeathing your new family member. Besides the inheritance, it is equally important that you nominate a guardian for your newborn and include them in your will.
A guardian is an individual you designate to assume full stewardship of your minor children should you pass on or become incapacitated to the point that you can no longer provide for your child. While the thought of imagining someone else raising your child puts off most people, designating a guardian for your minor child can help prevent devastating legal problems should something happen.
So what does a guardian do?
A guardian takes up your parental duties and shall be responsible for, among other things, your child’s upbringing, feeding, sheltering and education should you pass on before the child becomes an adult.
Granted the gravity of their role, it goes without saying that the individual you designate for this role should have the same beliefs and value systems as you do. Here are key factors you need to consider when choosing a guardian for your child:
Their experience with children
An ideal guardian does not have to be a parent. However, it helps if they have spent time with kids before either in a work or family setting. Ideally, you want a guardian who has a natural sense of being able to connect with kids. A relative who doubles up as your kid’s favorite uncle or aunt would be a great pick.
Physical and mental ability to parent
Taking into account a potential guardian’s age as well as the state of their physical and mental health can help you determine their fitness for your child’s guardianship. For instance, your parents may seem like the perfect choice for your toddler right now. But will they have the physical strength and mental capacity to take care of your teens 10 years down the road?
The idea of having someone else take care of your child may seem unsettling at first. However, this is one of the most important provisions you need to include in your estate plan as soon as you get a baby.