Many parents put a lot of thought into who would be best suited to raise their children if they were unexpectedly incapacitated or passed away. Most of the time, parents will choose someone that the family is “close to” and that can meet the emotional needs of the child. While these traits are certainly important, one thing that is often overlooked is the financial aspect of the decision. In our office, a Brandon guardianship lawyer will sit down with each client and ask them to carefully think about these three questions before we move forward in finalizing their choice:
1) Will your child’s guardian be able to manage their assets?
We know that raising a child can be emotionally challenging, but if you are leaving behind assets in the form of money or property for your child, you’ll want to make sure your guardian can properly handle the resources. We sometimes suggest naming a separate person to handle these assets if you are concerned about your named guardian’s ability to do so.
2) Will your guardian provide your child(ren) with the lifestyle you desire?
After you have selected your guardian, it’s a wise idea to have frank conversations about their ability and/or willingness to provide your child(ren) with the lifestyle you envision. Do you want your child(ren) to go to a college? Play sports… even if it’s expensive? Travel? Your guardian will need to make decisions about how your child’s money is spent, so it’s critical to let him or her know what life experiences and non-essential expenses are important to you.
3) Can your guardian’s living conditions accommodate your child(ren)?
Is there room in your guardian’s life for your children both figuratively and literally? Do they have the space and the capacity to take on your crew? Will they be able to take them to school or soccer practice? Someone with a one-bedroom apartment and an 80-hour-a-week career may not be the best choice for many practical reasons.
If your guardian is someone that is willing and able to handle the emotional and financial aspects of raising your child, you are one of the lucky ones! If not, you still have options- including the fact that your child can have multiple guardians that can oversee their physical care and financial needs separately. Either way, it is important to set up your estate plan with an experienced estate planning attorney to ensure that your child’s life continues on without you in the best possible way.
If you have any questions about naming a guardian we are here to help. Contact us today at https://ohalllaw.com/contact-us/ or call us at 813-438-8503 for more information.