Hyden, Miron & Foster, PLLC Law Blog

Monday, February 26, 2018

Mistakes to Avoid When Naming a Guardian for Your Minor Child

What factors should I consider when naming a guardian for my child?

Naming a guardian for your minor child is one of the most important decisions you will make during your lifetime. While none of us wish to consider what might happen if we pass away while our child is still a minor, failing to appoint a guardian will leave the care of your minor child entirely up to the court. Our Arkansas estate planning lawyers discuss some of the most common mistakes parents make when appointing a guardian for their minor child and what factors you should consider when naming a guardian below.

Mistake #1: Not naming a guardian.

The biggest mistake you can make when it comes to estate planning is not making an estate plan whatsoever. Fewer than half of all Americans have a valid will, meaning that less than half of all parents have taken the critical step of naming a guardian for their child in the event of their death. Take the time now to sit down and have the difficult discussion of what you and your spouse would want to happen to your child if something were to happen to you.

Mistake #2: Naming only one potential guardian.

You may feel strongly that your parents, siblings, or a trusted friend should serve as your child’s guardian, but it is still important to name an alternative guardian. Ideally, you should name at least two if not more alternative guardians in case something happens to your first choice. You can update your designations should anything happen to change your mind.

Mistake #3: Failing to consider what could happen in the future.

Selecting a guardian is a big decision. Depending on the age of the child, your guardian could be raising your child for decades to come. You need to anticipate what could happen not just in the immediate future but in the long run. Consider the age of your parents to assess whether they could realistically raise a child to the age of 18. Have a written plan in place in the event the couple you select divorces. Ask your attorney for advice with preparing your guardianship plan for whatever the future may hold. If you have not named a guardian for your minor child, now is the time to do so. With a guardian designation in place, you can have peace of mind that your child will be taken care of no matter what. Take the first step by contacting an estate planning attorney today.

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