In this post we focus on how to choose a guardian for a minor. In case you missed it last week, April 10th was National Siblings Day. In honor of all the kids out there, our previous post looked what it means to be a guardian for a minor and the two types of guardian that exist.
In case you missed it, click here. If you give a quick look, this month’s post will make much more sense. Given the importance of this topic, today we’ll cover a few more things. Guardianship of a minor is something that requires careful consideration and because you’ll want to have frank discussions with everyone involved, I thought you might want to know where you can start!
How to Choose a Guardian for a Minor?
It all STARTS with asking a ton of questions of yourself AND of the potential guardian(s). The more care you put into choosing a guardian now, the more likely your child is to manage if faced with the unthinkable.
Not really sure what to ask or how to get a conversation started? We get it! It can feel overwhelming and is not something a parent likes to consider. While there are many more questions you can ask, this post will definitely get you going in the right direction with a few key questions to have on your list!
Should the Guardian of the Person & Guardian of the Estate Be the Same Person?
If so, make sure to consider the level of financial responsibility of the person, the belief systems and parenting styles. Your attorney can help make sure your money is handled properly, however, it’s the character, beliefs and nature of the Guardian of the Person that need to be matched most carefully.
If your child is old enough, consider including them in the discussion. What do they want? With whom will THEY thrive? What is important to you and your child – education, financial well-being, creativity, curiosity, religion, compassion, being in service to others, collaboration, sincerity, authentic expression of self? Look at the character traits and ideals you would like your child to grow up having in their world and find the person or people best-suited for modeling those things to them.
What to ask When Choosing a Guardian of the Person for a Minor
Yes, MORE questions! In addition to the items mentioned above, have you considered things like the school-system where the Guardian of the Person lives? Do you even want the minor child to have to move away from their school and friends? Would the person you name as Guardian of the Person be willing to move to where the minor child lives in order to keep friends and school intact? Does the potential Guardian of the Person have the flexibility to be able to do that? If that person has the flexibility now, what might change for them in the next 5-10yrs and how do you plan for that? Are they emotionally equipped to help deal with the grief and trauma that accompanies the loss of a parent or parental figure. What happens if you don’t name a Guardian of the Person?
What to ask When You Choose a Guardian of the Estate
Yes, you know what I am going to say… Questions! Are they a good manager of money? Are they honest? Do they have integrity and an ability to be fair? Will they be concerned for their own best interest or the best interest of your minor child? Do the financial priorities of the potential Guardian of the Estate match yours? Is there a large amount of money that would need managed? Do you foresee a large inheritance for the minor while they are still a minor, from your estate, the estate of a grandparent, etc.? Should you consider creating a trust for the minor? What is the California Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA) and how does could it relate to your situation? What happens if you don’t name a Guardian of the Estate?
More on How to Choose a Guardian for a Minor
For more information on how to choose a guardian for a minor, we have a page on our website that looks at some of this in more detail, however, by now I bet you can see what I meant when I said that each situation is different. There are SO many things to consider and the personal and financial care of a minor is SO important, I really encourage you to speak to an attorney who knows their stuff. As a mother myself, I know how important it is to get this one right!
Guardianship of a minor and making sure you choose the best guardian for your child is a BIG decision! If you live in San Jose, Peninsula or South Bay Area, feel free to be in touch! I am simply a phone call or email away! In encourage you to print this Free 30 Minute Legal Consultation and use it to get some of your initial questions answered at NO CHARGE. I look forward to hearing from you.
This blog contains general information and is not meant to apply to a specific situation. Please seek advice of counsel before proceeding as each case is unique.