For many couples who are creating their estate plan, choosing a guardian for their minor children is the most challenging part of the process. It isn't uncommon for parents to take more time on this piece than the others.
People create estate plans because they want to control their assets, protect their money, and choose a guardian for their kids. Without an estate plan, the person (or people) who become your child's guardian is going to be selected by other family members or by the court. As parents, this is something you must have a say in.
A Starting Point
If you are in the process of building an estate plan, and you choose to go on vacation without your child, at least have this part of your plan complete. Give yourself the time you need. Allow yourself the opportunity to sit down with your spouse and have a serious conversation about the possibility of someone raising your child in your absence.
Here are some tips to help you through the process:
It Begins With Values
What values govern your actions? This is something you and your spouse can determine on your own before you ever sit down to talk. Come up with 5 values you live by.
When you have a discussion with your spouse, compare your lists. See which ones are similar, which ones match, and which ones you may disagree on. The goal is to generate a discussion around the idea of core values. The result is that you and your spouse develop a combined list of values that you want to be applied to raising your children.
Use The List, Not Titles
Don't get hung up on titles. In other words, just because someone is related to you, they may not be the most suitable guardian for your children. Sometimes people worry about offending others by not asking them to be their kids' guardians. If this is an issue, include this in the conversation you have with your spouse. You can talk about how to bring up the subject with family members.
In addition to the values list, consider other critical factors. For example, where does the potential new guardian live? Depending on how old your children are, you may or may not want to have them relocate. It's up to you, but it's worth a discussion.
And lastly, take a look at whether the person is in a position to take on the responsibility of a child. Do they have a job, a home? It's not unreasonable to take their finances into account either.
Hamilton Law, PLC
Choosing a guardian for your children is one piece of your estate plan, and we can help you create the rest of it. Take control of your assets now, so someone else doesn't decide where they go later. If you are ready to make an estate plan or wish to modify an existing one, contact Hamilton Law PLC to schedule your free consultation.