In celebrating the birth and life of a brand new baby, one of the last things (if not at all) on the minds of parents is the idea of picking a guardian for your child(ren) in case of a tragedy.
If it’s your first child you may never have discussed the idea of who may care for your new bouncing baby if you and your spouse were to die. It’s a conversation that isn’t easy to have at any time, but one that could become one of the most important things you do as a parent. Planning ahead and putting your wishes on paper can make a significant impact on your child’s life. In addition, to providing comfort and peace of mind for you.
Choosing a guardian for some may be easy, for others difficult. Spouses often have differing perspectives and ideas about who should become legal guardians, and family can play no small role as well.
Attorney Michelle-Shari Kruss, specializes in estate planning and says start with a list.
“When considering whether someone should be on the list, ask yourself, ‘would they provide a better home for my children than the foster care system?’” While most people you know would likely fall into the “yes” category, take it a step further. List the factors you and your spouse feel are most important in raising your children.
Kruss suggests considering these and more.
Presence of children in home already
Interest in and relationship with your children
Ability to meet physical demands of child care
Religion or spirituality
Marital or family status
Social and moral habits and values
Willingness to adopt your children
Using those criteria along with your own, you can match each factor with your list of potential guardians to help narrow those who you may choose. If even after all of this, you still are having trouble selecting just one couple or person, Kruss suggests consider a “Guardianship Panel.”
“The panel can consist of family members, loved ones and trusted friends who will decide together as a group who would be the best guardian for your children when and if the time comes.”
You alone are the only ones who can truly decide who is best to potentially raise your children. While the topic is not one new or established parents want to discus, keeping your family together and cared for is an important step parents must consider as they enter the most joyous time of their lives.
You can find more on guardianship and family law from Michelle-Shari Kruss on her blog here.