How to Choose a Guardian for Your Young Children

As parents, you provide everything your children need. Don't neglect their care if you are incapacitated or die before they turn 18. Carefully select a guardian and ensure your children are cared for by someone you know and trust.

1. Consider Everyone

Start the selection process with a list of candidates. Close and extended family members are obvious choices, but consider friends, coworkers, neighbors, child care providers and teachers as well.

2. Consider Philosophies and Values

Because guardians raise your children in your place, they should share your child-rearing and educational philosophies and values. Ideally, they should also share your moral values, religious beliefs and social values.

3. Don't Prioritize Income or Assets

A potential guardian's financial holdings shouldn't be the main focus of your selection. As long as you have adequate life insurance and the guardians are wise money managers, your children will be cared for adequately.

4. Age Matters

While thousands of grandparents successfully raise grandchildren, is the older person on your guardian short-list physically able to care for your children until they turn 18? If so, consider whether or not they want to parent young children.

5. Look at Family Dynamics

If you select guardians who already have children, consider the family dynamic. Are the children compatible ages? Do the children all get along? Would extra kids enrich the family or cause turmoil?

6. Choose Good Not Perfect Guardians

Remember, no one is perfect. You can, however, make a good choice as you select a guardian for your precious children.

7. Place Your Wishes in Writing

You'll want to add your guardianship wishes to your legal will. Additionally, write down why you selected the guardian you did. This document defends your selection in court in case someone contests custody of your children.

You owe it to your kids to choose guardians for them. Thoughtfully make the decision and then confidently select a guardian for your children.

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