Part of estate planning means making arrangements for your minor children in the event something happens to you, and appointing a guardian to watch over them is one of the best things you can do. Like many things in life, you may face a number of challenges when selecting and naming this person. Here are three issues that may come up and how to resolve them.
Your Family or Kids Don't Like Your Choice
As much as you hope your family will accept your choice, chances are pretty good there will be objections to the person you choose to be the guardian of your kids. These objections can stem from a variety of issues, ranging from concerns about the person's maturity to interpersonal disputes and grudges. If your family members feel strongly enough about it, they may challenge your selection in court, which can cause even more problems for your kids.
The best way to handle this issue is to talk to your family and explain your choice. This is particularly important when it comes to your kids, who may like the potential guardian but wouldn't necessarily want to have that person taking care of them. Listen to the objections and counter with your thoughts. You may not completely win people over to your viewpoint, but they will—at least—understand how important your selection is to you and may refrain from causing problems.
In addition to talking to people in person about the issue, you should include an explanation with your estate plan reiterating why you chose the individual. This will help remind your family about your wishes and hopefully prevent them from making rash decisions while in the throes of grief.
The Guardian Has Money Troubles
Your kids' guardian will take care of them and handle any money you leave behind for their care. Thus, it's important you choose someone who is financially responsible and, preferably, already has money of their own. This can reduce the risk your kids may be subjected to financial abuse.
However, financial irresponsibility shouldn't be a deal breaker. If the person is great with your kids but isn't very good with money or has financial issues, one option is to name a different person as the manager of the children's money. This reduces the risk the kids' money will be frittered away while ensuring the guardian has the cash needed to provide for their needs.
The Kids Have Different Parents
According to some statistics, over 29 million people are stepparents and 2,100 families come together to form a blended unit every day. Choosing a guardian for your kids can be challenging if they have different mothers and fathers because living parents take priority over guardians. So, if a group of kids have two fathers (one living and one dead), they could potentially be split apart with some of the kids going to the still living dad while the others are sent to live with the guardian, for instance.
You can still appoint a guardian for all the kids, but you'll need to sit down with both the guardian and all living parents and discuss who should get the kids and how to keep them together if that's the preference. For example, if the kids are split between the guardian and a living parent, the two adults could agree to move close enough to each other so the kids can at least remain in contact.
Appointing the right guardian for your kids is a serious decision that must be carefully weighed and implemented. Contact a family law attorney at establishments like the Assiniboia Law Offices for more information about and assistance with assigning a guardian for your kids and ensuring your wishes are heeded if you ever become incapacitated or die.