How To Choose A Guardian For Your Children in Your Will

Posted by heritagelaw on Apr 21, 2023 in Blog, Wills & Estate

As a parent, we know that you don’t want to think about not being there to take care of your children.

While we all hope that we will be able to raise our children to adulthood, it’s important to have a plan in place in case something unexpected happens.

One of the most crucial decisions you will make as a parent is choosing a guardian for your children.

At Heritage Law, we are here to help you make the plans you need to ensure your children are protected and taken care of.

Let’s look at how to choose a guardian for your children, including their responsibilities, how many guardians you can select, and what happens if you don’t select a guardian

You’ll also find some helpful tips on how to talk to your selected guardian.

What are the Responsibilities of a Legal Guardian?

A legal guardian is a court-appointed person who will take care of a child if their parents are incapable of doing so.

Legal guardians are responsible for the child’s well-being, including their physical, emotional, and financial needs.

This includes providing a safe and stable home for the child, making decisions regarding their education, medical care, and upbringing, and acting in the best interest of the child.

Here are some other duties that a legal guardian is responsible for:

  • Managing the Child’s Finances: A legal guardian is responsible for managing the child’s finances, including any assets or inheritance they may receive. They must ensure that the child’s money is used for the child’s benefit, such as for education or healthcare expenses.
  • Making Legal Decisions: A legal guardian may need to make legal decisions on behalf of the child, such as consenting to medical treatment or pursuing legal action if necessary.
  • Providing Emotional Support: A legal guardian must provide emotional support to the child, especially during difficult times such as the loss of a parent or a significant change in their life.
  • Fostering Relationships: A legal guardian should encourage the child’s relationships with their extended family members, such as grandparents or aunts and uncles.

How Many Guardians Can I Select?

When it comes to choosing a guardian for your children, you can select one or more guardians in your will.

However, it is recommended that you choose at least one primary guardian and one alternative in case the primary guardian is unable to fulfill their duties.

It’s also important to consider any potential conflicts that may arise if you choose more than one guardian.

For example, if you choose two guardians who live in different cities or provinces, it may be challenging to decide where the child should live.

What Happens if I Don’t Select a Guardian?

If you don’t choose a guardian for your children in your will, the court will appoint one.

This may not be someone you should have chosen, and it could cause family disputes.

It’s important that you take the time to choose a guardian and make your wishes known in your will.

Who Should I Pick as a Guardian?

Playful little boy enjoying spending time with parents at home.

Choosing a guardian for your child is a significant decision, and you need to choose someone who shares your values and parenting style.

Consider someone who is financially responsible and can provide for your children’s needs.

Think about the age and health of the potential guardian as well.

You should also choose someone who is willing to take on the responsibility of being a guardian.

Here are some things you should consider:

  • Relationship With the Child: Consider someone who has a close relationship with your child and who your child feels comfortable with.
  • Age and Health: Think about the age and health of the potential guardian. It’s important to consider their ability to provide long-term care for your child.
  • Values and Parenting Style: Choose someone who shares your values and parenting style. This will ensure that your child is raised in a way that you would approve of and that their lifestyle maintains some consistency.
  • Financial Responsibility: Consider someone who is financially responsible and can provide for your child’s needs. This includes paying for their education, health care, and day-to-day expenses.

Tips for Talking to Your Selected Guardian

Once you have chosen a guardian for your children, it’s important to have an open and honest conversation about your wishes for your child’s care.

Here are some tips to help you talk to your selected guardian:

Be Clear About Your Wishes

Discuss your expectations and concerns with your selected guardian. Make sure they understand your wishes for your child’s care and upbringing.

Provide Copies of Relevant Documents

Give your selected guardian a copy of your will and any relevant documents, such as medical directives or power of attorney documents.

Consider the Emotional Impact

Choosing a guardian for your children can be an emotional decision, and it’s important to consider the potential impact on your selected guardian.

They may feel overwhelmed or unsure about their ability to fulfill their duties as a guardian.

Be supportive and offer resources, such as counseling or financial assistance.

Revisit Your Decision Periodically

It’s important to revisit your decision periodically and make sure your selected guardian is still willing and able to fulfill their duties.

You should also consider updating your will if your circumstances change, such as a change in your relationship with your selected guardian or a change in your financial situation.

Involve a Lawyer

If you’re having trouble communicating your wishes to your selected guardian, consider involving a lawyer to help you out.

A lawyer can provide legal guidance and make sure that your wishes are reflected in your estate plan.

Secure Your Children’s Future

Choosing a guardian for your children is a critical decision that requires careful consideration.

By following these tips and taking the time to make an informed decision, you can ensure that your children are taken care of in case something unexpected happens.

Heritage Law can help you navigate the complexities of estate planning and create a plan that is tailored to your unique needs and circumstances.

Our team of experienced attorneys can provide guidance on selecting a guardian, creating a will, and updating your plan as your circumstances change.

Don’t wait until it’s too late – get in touch with us today.