Naming legal guardians is one of the first and most important steps a parent can take to ensure their child is raised by the people they want in the event of their unexpected death or incapacity.
It is no secret that caring for a child with a disability can be challenging. That is why you want to choose someone who will love and care for your child the way you would if you were not around to raise him or her. You will also want to choose someone who cares about giving your child the best opportunities and quality of life that he or she deserves.
When choosing legal guardians, we always advise parents to look beyond the obvious choices. Many times, parents will choose a guardian because they have the most financial resources at their disposal. However, there are many other ways to ensure your child has enough financial resources to last a lifetime, such as creating and properly funding a Special Needs Trust. Rather than choosing a guardian based on financial considerations, we like to instead encourage parents to think of other candidates whose values and outlook on life are similar to their own.
You will also want to choose someone who will be committed to your child for life, as many children with disabilities require supervision and support well into their adult years. Other considerations when choosing a legal guardian include:
- Whether the potential guardian has a similar parenting style to yours.
- Is your child already comfortable with this person?
- Is the potential guardian willing to take on the responsibility?
- Will they be emotionally able to care for your child(ren) after your death?
Once you have decided whom to name as trusted guardians, work with a Tampa special needs planning lawyer to legally document your wishes. You should leave a copy of your documentation with your chosen caregivers, your child’s school, babysitters, and any other concerned party in the event something happens to you and/or your spouse.
If you need help getting started creating a plan that protects your growing family, including any children with disabilities or special needs, simply contact our Brandon law firm at (813) 438-8503 to schedule a consultation.