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What should you consider when choosing a guardian?

One of the biggest decisions you might make as a parent -- and a decision that many people never consider -- is who might be the guardian of your minor children if something happens to you. This can be a frightening thing to consider, so it's understandable why parents might avoid the decision. Facing these fears and working with an estate lawyer to appropriately cement guardianship appointments can make a big difference in your child's life if disaster should strike. Here are some things to consider as you choose a guardian.

First, know that the person you appoint must be of age. That means they need to meet state requirements for age, which is usually 18 but might be higher in your state. You'll have to judge whether the person is mature enough to handle minor children,though, and many people who are in their late teens or early 20s might be in college or otherwise occupied so that taking care of children would be difficult.

The guardian you pick must be legally and otherwise able to care for your children. Obviously, you can't pick someone with a sex offense record, for example, but you also want to make sure whoever you choose has the time and resources to be a full-time guardian. A relative who travels frequently for work might not be the best choice, and if you are choosing someone who has financial struggles, you might want to consider how you'll provide for your children with trusts or other legal tools.

Finally, choose someone who is genuinely interested in the welfare of your children. It should be someone who already cares for your children and whom you know will try to make the best decisions for your kids throughout the years. If you need help creating guardianship paperwork or understanding how best to choose a guardian, reach out to an estate lawyer for advice.

Source: FindLaw, "How to Establish Guardianship of a Child FAQs," accessed Jan. 06, 2017

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