Even if you do not have much in the way of valuable assets, an estate plan is essential if you are a parent. You should choose a guardian to take care of your children in case you should die before they come of age.
Obviously, you must choose a guardian who loves the children as much as you do, but this is not enough on its own. What To Expect explains what else you have to take into consideration when choosing a guardian.
Your choice of a guardian does not have to be wealthy, but he or she should be able to provide consistently for your child’s needs. If the person you are considering as a guardian has a steady job and owns a house, these are factors in his or her favor.
You should take into consideration the age that your children are now and how old your intended guardian will be when the youngest turns 18. Think about whether the guardian’s age and physical condition may prevent him or her from providing the care your children need.
Does your choice of a guardian have a relationship with your children’s extended family, e.g., your immediate family and your in-laws? If so, what is the nature of that relationship? Do they get along well? You should choose a guardian who is willing and able to continue the children’s relationship with their extended family.
You should talk to your intended guardian about the values that are important to you. Find out if the guardian will raise the children in a way that is consistent with your values. It may be that you want your children raised in a particular religion, in which case you should probably choose a guardian of the same faith.
Remember that if you change your mind about the choice of a guardian later, you can update your will to reflect it. Before naming a guardian, you should ask for his or her consent. It is also a good idea to name alternate guardians in case your first choice is unavailable if the need arises.