Avoid These 4 Mistakes When Naming Guardians for Your Children

One of the hardest decisions to make when it comes to estate planning can be who to name as guardians for your child/ren. After all, our children are our legacy. Yes, passing on your financial assets is important, but not nearly as important as planning for your children’s care and future. The gravity of this decision stems from the realization that we are entrusting our children’s future to someone else’s care if the unthinkable happens to us. Selecting suitable guardians may involve navigating a labyrinth of complex emotions, and for some of us, we rush into a decision just to get it crossed off the to-do list. However, rushing this important decision can lead to several mistakes that you should take care to avoid.

  1. Not Considering the “What-Ifs”

First of all, it’s important to name more than one guardian. What if something happens to your first choice? You’ll want to make sure you’ve named backups, just in case. Perhaps your first choice will predecease you, or maybe they will move out of state while you want your children to remain close to other extended family members. You should also consider the case of divorce. If you’ve named a married couple as guardians, what if they get divorced before they become guardians? Do you want to move onto plan B, or will you wish for your children to remain with one of them? When naming guardians, be sure to consider multiple scenarios so you have a comprehensive plan in place.

  1. Not Documenting the “Absolutely Nots”

Perhaps before you’ve landed on the “just right” pick for guardians, you have a quick list of “absolutely nots.” Don’t forget to document this, too. You can hopefully avoid family disputes after your death by being very clear about your wishes for who you do and do not want to care for your children.

  1. Caving to the “Please Pick Mes”

This is obviously a huge decision, one that you shouldn’t make with outside influence. Just because your cousin Maggie has begged to be named as guardian since the day your children were born doesn’t mean that you must cave to her pressure. Instead, you want to choose guardians who are the best fit for your family’s needs, who will follow your wishes when it comes to the care of your children.

  1. Forgetting the “Must Knows”

Is there a school you want your children to attend? A religious tradition that’s important to continue in your family? A favorite family holiday tradition you want to be sure continues to be honored? The guardians of your children can’t be expected to know all these details if you don’t share them. If these “must knows” aren’t properly documented, you can’t request that your child try dance lessons or study abroad or learn to bake their grandma’s sugar cookies.

If writing this feels overwhelming to you, we can help with our personalized Guardian Care Guide service at Schromen Law. We’ll guide you through a questionnaire, discuss the nuances, and then do the writing for you, making a difficult process that much easier!

Make sure your children’s futures are planned for by getting estate planning documents in place that name guardians and avoid these common mistakes. Reach out to Schromen Law for help with these important decisions.

The material contained herein is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to create or constitute an attorney-client relationship between Schromen Law, LLC and the reader. The information contained herein is not offered as legal advice and should not be construed as legal advice.


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    1. […] plan when you’re young will ensure that your wishes are documented, including asset distribution, guardianship for minors, and healthcare choices. Further, once a person turns 18, nobody else has inherent legal authority […]

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