Couple discussing their estate plan with attorney

Selecting a Guardian for Young Children

By David Hammond

Do you have young children? If so, putting an estate plan in place should be a priority for you. Yes, estate planning is about property distribution after you pass away, but it is also about so much more. For instance, one important thing that you can accomplish through estate planning is naming a guardian for your young children. This will be the person responsible for raising your children should you pass away. While the idea can be difficult to confront, you can also find a great deal of peace knowing you have selected the best person for one of the most important jobs ever. Here are some things to consider when selecting a guardian for young children.

Selecting a Guardian for Young Children

When you think of who you want to select as a guardian for young children, you are going to want to consider things like the ability to parent and parenting style. The ability to parent would also include the willingness to parent. Your guardian selection should be someone who would be amenable to raising your young children. This should be of paramount importance in the selection process. Talk to your prospective guardian selections and see if they would be willing to take on this huge responsibility should the need arise. It is also a good idea to make a secondary guardian selection who would be willing to serve as guardian should your primary guardian be unwilling or unable to take on the role should the need arise.

You also want to consider selecting a guardian who would be willing and able to be a guardian for your child into an indefinite future. A guardian for a young child will have to raise them for years to come. This means your guardian selection should be someone who is in it for the long haul. Consider the age and health status of prospective guardians. Beyond this, look at what stage of life your prospective guardians are in. Are they going to be focused on their careers for a while? Are they in the midst of building a family of their own? These are important considerations.

The ability to parent also includes the ability to provide a solid living environment for the children as well as the ability to support them financially. Raising young kids all the way through adulthood is expensive. You will want someone who will be able to take on this financial responsibility. You will also want someone who can provide your children with a good living environment. Steady housing in an area with good schools and that would be near your family may be something that is very important to you and should be strongly considered when selecting a guardian.

You may also want to consider the religious and moral beliefs of a potential guardian. If raising your children with certain morals and religious teachings is important to you, it may be a good idea to select a guardian who follows the same beliefs and will honor these wishes you have for raising your children.

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About the Author
David is a former military prosecutor and defense lawyer with over a decade of experience fighting for service members and their families. He served nine years and two combat tours as an active duty US Army officer, then joined the Reserves and settled down in Syracuse to be near family. Now representing people across Central New York charged with serious felonies, misdemeanors, DWIs, and traffic offenses, he puts the same level of commitment into his civilian law practice. If you have any questions regarding this article, you can contact David here.