Creating an estate plan can often feel abstract. While d considering the tangible assets within your estate plan, anticipating what will happen when you pass away can feel surreal.
When minor children depend on you for their support, you may only think about the assets you want to leave for them. However, as you create your estate plan, you should also consider planning for their care if you pass away while they are still young.
Here’s what you should know about nominating a guardian for your children in your estate plan.
Godparents are not official
Choosing godparents is an important aspect of many religions. Depending on whom you choose as godparents, issues could arise concerning who will care for your children if you pass away while they are still minors.
While the chosen godparents may have every intention of taking on the care of your minor child, without proper documentation of your plan they may not be able to assume custody. If you do not appoint a guardian for your children and you die while they are minors, the court will appoint a guardian.
Naming a guardian
When you create or update your estate plan, take the time to name a guardian to care for your young children if you pass away and they are left without a parent. As you think about whom to name as guardian, you should consider aspects such as:
- Their relationship with your children
- The person’s religious beliefs and parenting philosophy
- Their age, health and financial situation
You may also want to consider naming an alternate or standby guardian. Much can change between the time you name someone as a guardian and when your minor children actually need a guardian. If situations arise in your first-choice guardian’s life and they cannot care for your children, someone else should already be named as an alternate who can step in and provide the care your children need.
Choosing a guardian can be a challenging decision. It is an integral part of caring for your children after you are gone. When you name a guardian for your children, you can have peace of mind knowing they will have the kind of care you would have provided.