Are you ready to be a guardian?

When you are estate planning you have some difficult decisions to make. One of the most important and emotional decisions parents will have to make is who will be their child’s guardian if they both die. They may have chosen you to serve as guardian of their child, but you will want to consider if you are ready to be a guardian before agreeing to do so.

Are you a good fit to be a guardian?

First, you must understand your responsibilities as a guardian. As a guardian you are acting as a parent to a child. If you are working, do you work many hours or work a nighttime shift? You need to be available to care for the child before and after school and at night.

Also, how much money do you earn? You do not need to be a millionaire to raise a child but working part-time may not provide you with enough of an income to meet the child’s needs. The deceased may have left money in their will for the care and support of their child, but this is not always the case and even if it is, it may not be enough in the long term.

Do you know the child well? The parents may have chosen you because you were the most responsible person they knew, but if you do not already have a close relationship with the child it will take time for you and the child to form a loving bond.

Do you already have a family of your own? You may already have your own parenting style and family values. If these do not match with those of the deceased, the child may have a difficult time adjusting to life in your care.

Choosing the best guardian

Parents want to select the best person to be the guardian of their child. If they want to choose you, you should sit down with them and have a conversation about your ability and desire to be a guardian. You may decide you are ready for guardianship, or you may decide guardianship is not right for you. This can help parents decide who is the best person to name as guardian in their will or trust.