If you’re a parent, you know that you have a serious responsibility to create a safe, healthy environment for your child. This means spending time considering some potentially unpleasant possibilities, in order to keep your family secure if the unthinkable happens.
Unfortunately, many parents pass away or become incapacitated each year without ever designating another adult as their child’s legal guardian. For many parents, the thought of leaving their children is difficult. They may hope that simply ignoring this issue will be all right in the long run. If they are lucky, they may not ever need guardianship for a child, but this is a risky approach.
If you have not yet assigned a guardian to your minor child in the event that you pass away, now is the time. The sooner that you designate a guardian, the sooner you can enjoy the peace of mind that your child has what they need to grow and thrive.
Who should serve as a guardian?
Choosing a legal guardian for your child can prove challenging, unless there is someone in your life who fills the role naturally. As long as you trust a person to keep your child’s best interests at heart, and as long as they meet some basic requirements, you can freely choose anyone you’d like for the position.
While the requirements for guardianship are simple, they are not typically negotiable. To serve as a legal guardian for a child, a person must be a legal adult themselves. They must also have the physical ability to provide care for your child, so some elderly family members who may fit the role naturally may not physically qualify.
A guardian must also be someone who can make time to properly care for your child if the need arises. If, for instance, you designate a successful but busy friend or sibling as your child’s guardian, make sure that they have a clear understanding of the time commitment that raising a child requires.
Your child’s guardian has the financial responsibility to care for your child, either out of their own resources or through resources that you leave for them. Make sure that you consider this as you narrow your field of candidates.
Finally, It should go without saying that any person who serves as a legal guardian should pose no threat to the safety of the child, which a court takes seriously. If you choose a person to serve as the guardian of your child, and that person has a history of illegal or dangerous behavior, you place your child in unnecessary danger. This undermines the purpose of assigning a guardian in the first place.
Act now for peace of mind
Designating a guardian for your child is not something that only some parents should do. If you have not designated someone that you trust to this role, make sure that you address this as soon as possible. This will keep your child’s best interests protected no matter what the future may hold.