Choose a Legal Guardian for Your Children

Plan Ahead and Protect Their Future

Mother hugging son on sofa
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Estate planning and choosing a legal guardian to take care of your children is difficult. It's not easy to think of anyone else raising your kids, no matter how loving your family members or friends are. Yet, you can make a tremendous difference in your children's lives by planning ahead. The first step is to choose the right person to be your child's legal guardian.

Choose a Legal Guardian in Three Easy Steps:

  1. Step 1: Make a List of Possible Guardians
    Make the longest list you can stand of everyone you know who might possibly be a good guardian. When considering whether someone should be on the list, ask yourself, "Would they provide a better home for my children than the foster care system?" If the answer is yes, include them.
  2. Step 2: Decide What Matters Most
    Choose a few factors that are most important to you and rank their order of priority.
    Here are some to consider:
    • Maturity and patience
    • Do they have children already?
    • Religion or spirituality
    • Relationship with your children
    • Integrity and stability
    • Marital or family status
    • Willingness to serve
    • Physical wellbeing
    • Social and moral habits and values
    • Availability of free time to raise your children
    • Parenting style

    Your perfect guardian choice would score highly on every measure. However, because we are all imperfect, you will likely have more success in choosing the few characteristics that are most important to you.
  1. Step 3: Match People to Priorities
    Use the factors you chose in step two to narrow your list of candidates down to 3-5 individuals or couples. Also, listen to your intuition as you consider each possible guardian. Next, using this short list, you'll need to rank the people you would want first, second, and so on.

    Choosing a legal guardian can be a complex process. It's not easy to think of anyone else raising your children. However, your kids are depending on you for a bright future, and taking the time to plan ahead and choose a legal guardian is one way you can you secure that future for them.