Things to consider when choosing a Guardian

If you come to think of it, a Will is all about passing on the legacy you built to the person or people you deem to be the rightful heirs. If it wasn’t for the fact people could protect their loved ones via a Will, we doubt that many people would bother taking the time to draft a Will in the first place… nor would they make an effort to save the wealth they earn throughout their life either.

Given the fact that so much is at stake, people tend to be more than just a little cautious when considering drafting their Will. It’s not just about delegating who gets what property or how much, especially if there are children involved.

Deciding who is going to take over the responsibility of caring for your children in your absence is often the biggest priority for parents when writing a Will.

Choosing an appropriate guardian for your beloved children is no easy task, which is why the team at Legacy Wills thought it was important to educate individuals on how to choose a guardian.

Choosing the Right Guardian

The decision of choosing a guardian is undoubtedly a very tough one. It hardly comes as a surprise when we see people contemplating hard on this matter as it is certainly one of the most important decisions any parent has to make. Hopefully, the points covered below will make the process of choosing a guardian easier for you:

The Role of a Guardian

There are two primary responsibilities involved in being a guardian. The first is to ensure that the designated wealth reaches the child when they come of age. Guardians that look after the wealth management of children are known as guardians of the estate and they are required to manage the physical and monetary assets of the child, either during or after the lifetime of the testator.

The second responsibility is to be the child’s family, given that they no longer have their parents around to care for them. The guardians that are entrusted with the responsibility of looking after the emotional needs of the children are known as guardians of the person and they act as a substitute parent to the child.

Defining Attributes

When selecting a guardian of the estate, it is worth remembering that they will be required to manage the complex affairs involved in wealth. It therefore becomes important for the testator to choose one accordingly. Choosing someone who is responsible and extremely trustworthy is important with this role.

On the other hand, a guardian of the person must be elected on the basis of how well they can bond with your child/children.  

Therefore, both these types of guardian have different requirements and the decision should be based on attributes and not personal relations.

For instance, if you know of someone who is a fantastic accountant with an unwavering work ethic, then such a person would perfectly fit the role of a guardian of the estate but would be an awful choice for guardian of the person.

Multiple Guardians

In many cases, there is more than just one child involved. It can be a tricky aspect to handle. On one hand, you may not be so keen to see your children grow up in different households, yet asking an individual to take on all of your children may also be hugely overwhelming too.

In these situations, many people prefer to nominate multiple guardians in order to ensure that the children are raised with maximum care and minimum hassle. An option many consider when they have multiple children is to assign certain guardians to specific children. An important thing to consider is that would you want the children to be separated after you pass away.

It is in times like these, that the decision to elect a guardian of the estate suddenly appears to be the easiest choice of the two.

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Values and Philosophies

As a natural instinct, you will be compelled to think of the environment in which your child is being raised and of course, you will want it to be the very best for them.

This environment must be in complete accordance with your own beliefs and values. If you wish for them to have a certain upbringing, it is also possible to look for families or individuals that fit your requirements perfectly, as then you could rest easy knowing that your children will have the upbringing you always intended.

This might be an obvious one, but it is still worth mentioning. Do not opt for someone to be a guardian that the court will likely deem to be inappropriate, regardless of how wonderful they are as a person. If someone has a history of drug or alcohol abuse or a criminal record for example, the courts are likely to disapprove.

Financially Sound

If you stand at a point where you are about to pass over a legacy into new hands, chances are, you very well understand the importance of stability.

Stability is not only important to create wealth but is also crucial if you are going to maintain it.

A guardian of sound financial stability is more likely to look after the education and monetary affairs of your child, because they have demonstrated the ability to do it for their self, too.

You should try to analyse the stability of a person in terms of how they handle personal affairs. It is an important trait that any guardian of the person or guardian of the estate should possess.

Longevity

It is also important to select a guardian who would be around for your children for a long time to come. If possible, you should aim to elect a guardian who is young enough to raise children until they are fully fledged adults.

There are many challenges involved in raising children and these challenges require the parent or guardian to be at the peak of their physical, mental and financial health.

For many, the most natural choice for a guardian is a child’s grandparents. There would be no doubt about your children being in a loving, affectionate home, but you may need to factor in their health and longevity before you make that final decision and write a Will with them as the guardian.  

No Influence

When it comes to decisions that are as important as this, it is always best to not work under the influence of any third person. The choice of who will be the guardians of your child or children should be a decision that is executed by you, without the interference of others.

Whilst there is nothing wrong with seeking advice from others, the decision ultimately needs to be yours. This is why it is so important to ensure that you assign a legal guardian to your children in your Will, otherwise it will be left for the courts to decide who looks after them and where they live once you die.

While we’re on the topic of influence, it will also be a good idea to elect a guardian who only has a positive influence on your children. Electing guardians that affect a child negatively can pose bigger problems with their custody if the court deems them inept to raise children.

Get it in Writing

The appointment of a guardian has to be done through a legal procedure. It is always advisable to not leave any loose ends when it comes to the legal documentation surrounding the election of guardians.

Your Will should clearly state the details of the person you wish to be the legal guardian of your children in your absence.  

To ensure that you guarantee the future for your children that you have in mind, contact us now to speak to our expert legal advisors. At Legacy Wills, we can guide you through the entire process to make sure that all the legal boxes are ticked, meaning you can enjoy the rest of your life knowing you have everything in control, even once you’re no longer around.

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