How can I appoint a guardian for my child?

Little daughter closing dads eyes with hands and laughing after child custody caseAppointing a guardian for your child or children is a good idea because the alternative is not appealing. If you do not appoint a guardian to watch over your children, the courts decide who the guardian is going to be—even if it’s not the person you would have picked yourself.

How to choose a guardian

A guardian is a trusted party—not always a relative—who can care for your child or children when you can’t. While it would seem logical that a relative would automatically be named a guardian, the courts can choose anyone who steps forward to be guardian. That volunteer may not be someone you would choose or trust to care for your child or children.

Beyond trust, consider your options for a legal guardian carefully. The right guardian:

  • shares your values and religious priorities,
  • is physically and mentally capable to care for your child or children,
  • can raise them in the ideal location,
  • is able to continue contact with the children’s family (if you want that to happen),
  • has the capacity (even with other children) to take your child or children in.

Your chosen guardian must be an adult; minors are not legally granted guardianship of other minors. Ironically, you may not need to consider their financial responsibility if you leave funds for your children’s care; another party can be named for the financial aspect.

How to appoint a guardian

To name a guardian for your children in case you die, contact an attorney to draft a will that spells out your wishes for your children and your financial assets. If you do not trust your appointed guardian with your assets, you can include specific directions for any funds you leave behind for the care of your children.

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