GuardianshipGuardianship of your children is probably the most important part of any parent’s will. When I was first starting out, there were a variety of other things that used to seem more important. But as anyone who has children knows, their well-being is the most important responsibility of a parent. Beyond the basic day-to-day care of the children, many other factors can enter into your choice. One factor that is important to many of my clients is raising the children in their religious faith.

How To Set Up Guardianship

For parents of underage children, a guardianship provision is necessary for every will. Without it, the state will be deciding where your children will go if you die. You may not like your inlaws and think you have a better person to raise your children. But without a provision in your will, your inlaws might be where your children go to live.

Setting up guardianship in a will is a straightforward process. Working with an attorney will make sure that it is done correctly. If you go to a website that is just carelessly inserting your information into a document, your children could be in for quite a surprise. One client brought me a will that was done by one of those websites and it tried to insert a guardianship form into the middle of a will. Not surprisingly, there were mistakes in the final document and that client smartly decided not to sign the final document.

Who Should I Choose?

This is a very personal choice for each client. You should have a discussion with your spouse about who you think should be the person to be appointed guardian for your children. If you both are getting wills prepared, you should ideally name the same person so that there is no conflict between your wills if you die at the same time. If there is, well, you’ve left another issue for a court to sort out at a later date. You should also consider naming an alternate guardian in case your chosen guardian is unable to do it. There are a variety of reasons why they might not be able to, so an alternate is always a good idea.

A large concern for my clients is also that their children are raised in a certain religious faith. If this is also important to you, be sure that you choose someone who knows your faith. They should understand what it takes to raise children in that faith. It is often a good idea to be sure that they are actively practicing that faith as well.

You may have other criteria for choosing a guardian for your children. No matter what that criteria is, be sure to spend some time to make sure you’ve chosen the person you want when you create your will.

Next Steps

If you don’t have a will yet, or if you have one that doesn’t have a guardianship provision for your children, call my office to set up a meeting and we can review the best options for you – (877) AMAYERS.

Andrew Ayers
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I work with business and estate planning clients to craft legal solutions to protect their legacies.