New parents need to choose a guardian for their children

Discussions about estate planning often focus on those preparing for the end of their lives. Those nearing retirement or preparing to move to nursing homes often need to create or review estate plans to protect themselves financially and legally. However, people in many different life circumstances might benefit from the creation of an estate plan.

New parents are among those who need to consider the possibility that they might die prematurely. Their children rely on them for everything from basic financial support to guidance as they mature and plan their futures. Most new parents imagine that they will play an active role in the care of their children until they are adults with children themselves. Sadly, some people die or experience emergencies while their children are still young.

Parents can derive much peace of mind from the decision to put together an estate plan. Their children can also benefit from the protection of having a guardian. How can parents choose the right guardian for minor children?

Reviewing abilities and relationships

The first step in selecting the right guardian for minor children is to think about the people closest to the family. The siblings of the parents, their cousins and maybe even their close friends could be viable candidates. Factors ranging from their current location to their overall health can impact whether someone is a good candidate or not. A guardian takes over the same responsibilities that a parent has toward their children. Therefore, a guardian must be fastidious, patient and compassionate.

Ideally, they are young enough to remain healthy and active until the children become adults. Where they live and the job that they perform can also impact whether or not they can actually meet the needs of the children if their parents die unexpectedly. New parents can create a short list of prospective guardians through the careful contemplation of the people they know.

Talking with the candidates

Unfortunately, not everyone who could be a guardian for young children is able and willing to accept that role. They may have health challenges that someone does not know about or could be on the cusp of starting a family of their own. Therefore, a discussion with the candidates for guardianship is important, as parents need to confirm that the person whom they’ve selected won’t refuse that responsibility if the worst-case scenario ever occurs.

Parents may feel more confident about moving forward with their daily lives when they know there is someone willing and able to take care of their children if anything ever happens to them. As such, taking the time to create an estate plan and name a guardian for young children can benefit everyone in the family.