One of the most important things that you have to decide as part of your estate planning, particularly if you are a single parent, is who will care for your children if you pass away. The person you choose will need to have the guardianship designation. This is a legal document that gives them the power to do anything that you would normally do for the children, including making decisions about education and health care.
It is imperative that you choose a person who will be able to handle the duties of raising your children. Typically, younger children will require people who have more energy to care for them, so be sure to consider this when you are deciding on a guardian. You also need someone who is going to respect your wishes regarding your children’s upbringing.
The person you choose should be able to make sound financial decisions because they will be responsible for paying for your children’s needs. You can leave assets to this person through trusts, your will and payable on death designations so that they can afford the things the kids need. In some cases, you might name one guardian to handle the financial matters and another one to actually raise the children.
When you set your guardianship up, the wording must make it clear that it doesn’t go into effect until you pass away or are incapacitated and can’t care for your children yourself. Proper wording helps to ensure that the children are taken care of during a time when they need stability more than ever. Your estate planning attorney can provide valuable guidance.