How do I choose a Guardian for my Children?

Getting a Guardian for your children

When I first started to look at getting a guardian for my son, I found that it was a lot tougher decision than I first thought. My wife and I do not have any family that lives around us. The family that are close are very old and the thought that they would take care of my son was more comfortable but not very stable.

Step 1 Make a list. I started with friends because I want my son to be raised in this community. I can only imagine what it would be like if I lost both my parents and having to leave my home would be too much. I would also like him to be raised in proximity to the house by two very stable people that have the same life as we do and really know our son. I also want him to go to the same school that keeps him connected and the high school that we talked about him going to.

Step 2 Talk to the potential guardians and find out what their willingness to serve as guardian is.

Step 3 Get a declaration of guardian signed and in writing have specific instructions such as “will attend Cardinal Newman High School, will spend summers with Uncle in Southern California and will go to 4-year university in Boston, etc.

You should consider these areas when thinking about your specific plan:

  1. Medical Needs.
  2. Education.
  3. Family relationships.
  4. Financial needs
  5. Spiritual and Community ties.

 This simple form can be used in naming a guardian.

Step 4 Get a plan.  Now that you have a guardian in place finish the plan. A good estate plan should include:

  1. Advanced Health Care Directive.
  2. Power of attorney for assets.
  3. Revocable Living Trust.
  4. Contact that will make sure the Plan is executed (Your Estate Planning Attorney).
James Zakasky
An estate attorney who goes beyond drafting wills and creating trusts