Choosing Your Children's Guardian

If you have minor children, the lawyer who draws up your will probably will ask you to name a guardian for them. It's a very important decision. If anything should happen to you and your spouse, your children's future well-being could depend on the person you choose for this crucial job.

If you have minor children, the lawyer who draws up your will probably will ask you to name a guardian for them. It’s a very important decision. If anything should happen to you and your spouse, your children’s future well-being could depend on the person you choose for this crucial job. Some dos and don’ts:

  • Don’t name your parents. Caring for a young child may be more than they can handle at their age. It’s better to find someone closer to your own age—a sibling with a lifestyle similar to yours may be a good choice.
  • Pick someone who lives close to your home. Your children will be dealing with enough stress without the added chore of adjusting to totally new surroundings.
  • Name just one person of a married couple. Divorce or death could change their circumstances, so pick the individual in the couple you want to be in charge of your kids and name that person as guardian.
  • Have a contingency plan. You should always name an alternate, in case something happens to your first choice.
  • Never name a guardian without his or her consent. And make sure the person you choose knows what will be involved.