One of the most essential parts of estate planning is to provide for your loved ones in the event that you no longer can. Knowing your family’s best interests are set in writing brings peace of mind and helps you face the unknown with greater confidence.
While we never want to think about the worst happening, it’s important to consider what would happen to your minor children if you died or lacked the capacity to care for them.
Appointing a guardian for your children is a critical part of organizing your estate plan. Even if you are young and in good health, don’t procrastinate on solidifying your guardianship wishes. Without guardianship written into your will, it’s up to the courts to appoint someone to care for your children. Instead of leaving it to chance, why not appoint a guardian you’ve carefully considered as being the best option for your kids?
Who Should You Appoint as Guardian?
Whoever you appoint as guardian will be legally responsible for the day to day care of your minor children. Their responsibilities include providing a home and supervision for your children. In addition to food and clothing, the guardian will ideally be responsible for providing love and emotional support for your children. Essentially, a guardian steps in to take the place of a deceased parent until the children reach adulthood.
Choosing a guardian is one of the most important decisions you can make. While choosing someone might feel overwhelming, it might help you focus to consider these tips:
- Consider immediate family, extended family, and close friends – who would best love and care for your child?
- Choose someone with values similar to your own – because these values are most likely the ones you want imparted to your child.
- Remember not to choose someone based on their current marriage or relationship. If this relationship changes, it might change how you would view them as a potential guardian. For this reason, Forbes suggests choosing individuals over couples. Consider your guardian’s partner and children if applicable – would they contribute to your child’s wellbeing?
- Raising children takes a lot of work and dedication. Choose someone you believe is up to the challenge.
- Choose someone who is financially stable.
- Choose someone who you believe is emotionally and physically healthy.
- Try to imagine your child fitting into your guardian’s life or family. Can you see your child being happy? Would it be similar to their current lifestyle?
- Remember that Florida law requires guardians to be 18+ and to have never been convicted of a felony.
How To Appoint a Guardian in Florida
Once you’ve chosen a good fit, the rest is relatively easy. You just need to write your child’s guardian into your will. If you need assistance or advice preparing your will or other estate documents, our legal team is at your service with locations across the Treasure Coast. Call our Stuart, Florida office at 772-261-8556 or send a message online.
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