It is often said that you will never know the importance of life until you become a parent. The love you have for your children and the fact that you are responsible for rearing them into adulthood are enough to make you want to live longer to be able to take care of them. However, life has no assurance. You and your spouse may meet an untimely death that will leave your children orphaned. This is a grim thought to have, but one that you have to face in able to plan for your children’s future.
Who will be Your Children’s Guardian?
According to the law, your children will be left under the care of a guardian until they reach the age of eighteen. If you have left a will that clearly indicates who you want to take the role as your children’s guardian, then your wishes are likely to be granted. You have to understand, though, that there are exceptions to this. For instance, if the court sees that the person you named to be the legal guardian is not capable of rearing your children, then the court will have to appoint someone else. This is why it is best that you appoint a secondary guardian just in case this kind of scenario happens.
On the other hand, if you fail to leave a will that will address this particular issue, the court will have to take charge of finding the right guardian for your kids. You have to remember that your parents or siblings will not automatically be qualified for this, unless they step up and nominate themselves to be your kid’s legal guardian. The judge may focus his attention to those who are willing to take the task. A show of intention is also not enough for a judge to grant custody. Several hearings will take place to help the court assess the nominees properly, basing on their own qualifications. This means that what the court sees as the best move for the interest of your children may not coincide with your beliefs. In the end, your children may end up in the care of people you do not trust, which is why it is always better that you prepare your will as soon as you become a parent.
Another aspect that you need to look on to is your spouse’s will. There could be some disagreements regarding the persons each of you assigned as future guardians for your kids. The court will have to assess both appointees through several hearings. Therefore, it is possible that the person your spouse chose will end up as the legal guardian of your children. Nonetheless, it is better this way than having no designated guardian at all.
How to Choose the Right Guardian for Your Kids
Put your children’s best interest on top of anything. Do not choose your sister because she is family. She may not be emotionally, spiritually, and financially capable to take on the task. Instead, find a person who shows sincere love and care for your children’s well being. In the same manner, your children should also have a close relationship with the guardian you choose. If this is not true at the moment, you can still start working at improving that relationship. Choose a person who shares the same values that you have. That person should be able to raise your kids just the way you have planned to raise them.
Once you and your spouse have agreed on the perfect guardian for your children, take time to talk to that person about your plans. It will be very unfair for that person to be given a huge responsibility without his or her knowledge. You should also give that person a chance to think things over after you have carefully laid down and explained all the provisions that come with the task. If that person later signifies that he or she is not ready to take the responsibility, accept the rejection gracefully. It is actually better that you know about it now so that you can go on and find another candidate.
Most parents would choose the children’s grandparents as the legal guardians, but you have to consider that you and your spouse’s parents will not always be as healthy as they are now. You can assign the obligation to them for a specified period of time, but include a provision in your will that states a change of guardian when the grandparents reach a specific age. This will ensure that your children will get the best care and attention until they become adults.