As a parent, our goal is not only to love our child unconditionally but to provide for him or her and make sure that they have everything they need to live a happy, healthy and productive life.
One of the best ways to provide for your child is to ensure that he or she is taken care of, even if we’re no longer able to care for them ourselves. And, the best way to do this is to choose a responsible guardian for them if we die or are incapacitated. A guardian is a court-administered individual who takes care of a minor child (someone under the age of eighteen).
In Texas, a guardian can be anyone that you designate; however, most individuals choose grandparents, relatives, or a close friend, like a Godparent, for instance. The key, however. is to think beyond the obvious choices. Extended family members and friends can also make great choices.
When choosing a guardian, it is important to hire an estate planning attorney to help you. Not only can they explain how to select a guardian, but they can also assist you in filing the correct paperwork.
Here are some questions to consider when choosing a guardian:
- Are they open to raising your precious child when you are deceased or incapacitated? Be clear about how you want them to manage your finances and children, your finances, or just your children.
- Do they love your child and treat him or her well?
- Are they open to moving to your child’s community if needed? Or, let them know that you’re comfortable with your child moving to live with them.
- Do they have the same values as you? For instance, they should share religious beliefs and parenting styles. They should also “be on the same page” in terms of ensuring that your children complete educational pursuits.
- Is the potential guardian independent and a good decision-maker? I mean, they should have strong morals and good character.
- Is the individual is not an alcohol or drug abuser and do they have the mental capacity to care for your child in your absence?
- Are they financially stable–so that they have the resources to care for your child? In the event they do not, leave money for your child through a trust or life insurance.
- Are they in good health?
Once you’ve chosen a suitable guardian, here are some additional things you should do:
- Get an agreement in writing and be clear as to whether you’re granting temporary or complete guardianship.
- Ensure that your will and trust coincide with any guardianship paperwork you’ve completed.
No parent wants to think about their impending death, but the truth of the matter is that we will all perish one day and as parents, we have to think about what will happen to our child if we do. By assigning guardianship to someone we trust, we can rest assured knowing that our child will be cared for if someone happens to us.
The good news is that you don’t have to do it alone. At Ibekwe Law, PLLC, we can advise you about the proper procedure for setting up guardianship designations and assist you with filling out the required paperwork.