Creating a Guardianship Plan for Your Children

Those with large support systems and close, loving relationships with friends and family already know they are blessed. They’re able to raise their children in an environment where they can feel fully supported. However, even in situations where you believe your children will be in good hands if you can no longer care for them, you shouldn’t leave it up to family or the court system to determine guardianship in your absence. It may lead to legal complications and disputes that could ultimately cause harm to your children. Learning about the impact planned guardianship can have will benefit your estate plan and potentially your children.

The Importance of Naming a Guardian

In the event that a child’s parents pass away or are otherwise unable to care for them, the court will determine who will make decisions on behalf of the child, unless there is a named guardian within the estate. The judge will do the best they can to make this determination in the best interest of the child, but the reality is that they don’t know you or your children.

In some cases, you may not have a good relationship with a family member, but after your passing, if they petition for guardianship of your child, it’s possible that the judge will select them for guardianship. They could have complete control over your child’s inheritance, well-being, and the values they’re raised with. On the other hand, you may be expecting someone close to you to be able to step in and become a guardian. However, in the moment, that person may not be prepared or willing. 

Naming a guardian in a trust or a will can eliminate any ambiguity regarding your wishes. With guardianship, your children will be cared for by someone you approve of and it will be more difficult for anyone to dispute their guardianship rights in the event that you become incapacitated. Incorporating these estate planning tools can protect your child’s inheritance or give the guardian the financial means to raise your child.

Selecting a Guardian

Choosing someone to be a guardian is not an easy task. If possible, it should be someone who is close with you and your children. They should understand and respect your personal values and beliefs and be willing to impart them to your children. A potential guardian should also be fiscally responsible. Anyone who is expected to raise a child should have the financial means to do so. If tasked with managing the child’s inheritance, they should be capable of utilizing it for the best interest of the child and not for personal gain.

Although your children may not need to be directly involved with the estate planning process generally, it’s important to consider their wishes when it comes to guardianship. It should be a collaborative process between you, your children, and their prospective guardians. The most important characteristic of a guardian is that they care about your children and are willing to care for their needs in your stead. 

The process of selecting and incorporating a guardian for your children within your estate plan may be a little challenging, but the benefits are worth it. You can have peace of mind knowing that your children will be safe and well cared for and that their inheritance will be protected. If you would like to discuss naming a guardian in your estate plan, call (305) 285-0285 to schedule a consultation today.

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Zamora, Hillman & Villavicencio

Our firm deals with legal matters involving your loved ones, and our familial operation is prepared to give you caring and effective counsel during what might be a difficult or emotional time.

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