One of the most somber discussions parents have to engage in when welcoming new members to their family involves the subject of guardianship in the event that anything happens to the parents. Although it is rare for both parents to experience an untimely passing, sometimes both parents in a family will die at the same time or one after the other.
Parents have the opportunity to ensure that their children are raised by the person or people of their choice by naming a guardian ahead of time. This is one of the primary ways in which parents who are worried about their children can properly protect their interests in an estate plan.
1. Name a guardian who will keep things stable
There are numerous personal factors that influence how well a guardian will manage the difficult transition ahead for the children in their care. Parents should consider someone’s personality and their ability to support grieving children.
Their proximity to where the children live is one consideration, although of willingness to relocate is also valuable. In some cases, the children should live with a family member who owns a whole new machine school district. Other times, an unmarried family member responsible enough to care for the children might agree to move into the family home until they all finish high school.
Choosing a guardian who will try to keep things stable and comfortable for the children is of the utmost importance.
2. Leave resources for the guardian and the children
It is easier to accept the responsibility of guardianship in theory than to fulfill such an obligation in daily reality. Given how expensive children’s needs can become, guardians may grow to resent the children and their care if there aren’t also financial resources to help provide for them.
Parents thinking about what may happen to their children in the future will need to earmark certain assets for the care of the children or potentially invest in life insurance to provide for the basic needs of the children. Life insurance and possibly the creation of a trust can be important components in a plan to provide for the children after the death of a parent.
Thinking about both the personal needs and the financial needs of each child will be an important part of arranging for their protection in the future. Addressing a family’s unique needs is key to the creation of an effective estate plan.