Giving Your Minor Children Legal Guardians

legal_guardiansNo one likes to think about dying. When you have children, the possibility is especially heartbreaking, because you fear for the well-being of your little ones when you are gone. Without a will or proper estate planning, your family members could be locked in court battles over custody over your kids; and in the end, your children may end up in a situation that you would never have chosen for them. It’s a harsh reality, but one that you can easily prevent. All you need to do is take action now and name legal guardians for the minors in your care.

You’ll need the help of a licensed Maryland lawyer to help you establish legal guardianship. Your attorney will guide you through tricky parts of the process and offer valuable information. However, choosing your children’s guardians is primarily up to you. So how do you decide on an ideal legal guardian?

Make a List

First, make a list of everyone you trust with your kids. Cast the net wide, so to speak— you can always narrow your choices down later. Include close family members like your siblings and parents, as well as those of your partner. Consider extended family members and dear friends as well. Make sure that everyone on the list has the necessary health and energy to raise your kids.

Do a Character Check

Next, think about the character of each person on your list, including their spouses or partners. Do they love your children and show that affection? Think about character qualities such as patience, wisdom, and kindness.

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Think About Values

Don’t be too concerned about financial resources at this point. When you go through the estate planning process with your lawyer, you can make financial provision for your children to help their potential guardians care for them. Instead of focusing on money, house size, or job situation, think about personal values. Do the potential guardians share your philosophy for raising children and educating them? Do they share your morals or religious beliefs?

Consider Lifestyle Compatibility

Finally, think about the lifestyle of the potential legal guardians. If they have children, do those children get along with yours? If you are considering a couple and that couple someday splits up through death or divorce, which one would you want to take care of your children? Be sure to ask the couple if they are willing to take on the responsibility of being legal guardians for your kids if the need arises.

Of course, no legal guardian is perfect in every way. All you need to do is pick someone with whom your children have an excellent chance at health, happiness, and success. Settle it with your lawyer’s help, and you’ll feel better knowing that your kids are secure for the future.

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How To Name Legal Guardians for Your Kids: Who Should Raise Your Kids if Something Tragic Happens to You?


About Nicole K. White

After losing a close relative, Nicole witnessed the devastation, enormous expense and chaos caused by not having a comprehensive estate plan. It is Nicole’s mission to educate parents, especially single parents, about protecting themselves, their families, minor children, and assets with comprehensive Estate Planning.

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