Tips for choosing a guardian for your child

Have you chosen a guardian for your child/children?  What happens to them when you die?  We haven’t and that’s really not smart. It’s not like Rob and I aren’t aware of our mortality…we have lost so many loved ones in a short period of time that we are way more aware of our mortality than we would like to be…We know that there’s a chance of leaving for work and not coming home, or getting struck down by illness, we know this ,we get this, but sometimes things are a little too real and I feel like sticking my fingers in my ears and loudly humming so I don’t have to think about it.

The thing is though, if we don’t make the decision now, if we don’t put it in black on white. Our precious son becomes a ward of the state when we die, no matter how many people love him or want to take care of him, unless we step up and decide, the decision won’t be ours to make.

This happened to a dear friend of mine, when her parents died without a will she ended up a ward of the state, she had a family with the means and the desire to look after her, but because nothing was set in stone she had so many red tape hoops to jump through and so many  meetings and court appearances  , she couldn’t just be – if you know what I mean.

1Life insurance  sent me tips on choosing a guardian which Rob and I have been looking at, we want our boy to be taken care of after our death and as tough as it is to think of…it is something that has to be done.

I have thought about it, I have wondered if I left him with family A would he be exposed to faith like I’d want him to be, would family B be too fundamentally religious and set him up for prejudices Rob and I have tried to keep him away from. Would family C respect his choice to be a vegetarian and would family D remember that Friday’s are movie nights, would they know that I don’t mind him calling himself a boy princess and that I don’t mind him making a crafting mess . I’m typing this with tears in my eyes… the thought of not being here for my boy has me popping vitamins and learning self defense in the hopes of becoming “immortal”, but in things like this I need to put emotion aside and look at the facts:

This is the 1Life Insurance check list for choosing a guardian
Who is financially able to support my children?

Losing you will be hard enough for your children, without also having to face a financially insecure future. If the guardian you choose does not have sufficient income to support your children, or you will not be leaving a substantial inheritance for them, it is vital that you take out life insurance to cover the expenses of raising a family – including food, school fees, medical care, clothing, entertainment and general care.

If you are in good health, life insurance will represent a relatively small monthly payment that will buy your guardian and your children the security that they need to get through school and get a start in life without wanting for the things that they need.

Where do they live and how will this affect my children?

You may have a wonderful family member who is willing to take care of your children, but they happen to live far away from your children’s home. Consider how this will affect their schooling, their social life and their access to amenities.  This is not to say that if a faraway friend or relative is your best choice that your children shouldn’t have to relocate; simply that you should weigh up the pros and cons of moving them, and discuss the possibility of relocation with the guardian.

How old, healthy and fit is the potential guardian?

If your children can’t be raised by their Mum and Dad, who better to raise them than YOUR Mum and Dad? It’s a great idea as long as your parents are in good health. If, however, your parents are ageing or in ill-health, it is a good idea to consider a younger family member who is fit and youthful enough to cope with the demands of energetic children.

Do they have children of their own and how will this affect them?

If you have a sibling or friend with their own children, they may seem like the natural choice to become your children’s guardian because your kids will just slot in with theirs. In reality, melding two families together puts a lot of pressure on both sets of children – the cousins or friends’ children could resent your children’s intrusion into their lives, and your children could feel that they always play second fiddle to their guardian’s actual children.

Again, this isn’t to say that you shouldn’t place your children with a guardian who has their own kids. It’s just another consideration when deciding on the ideal candidate.

Who would my children most prefer to live with?

If your children are heading into the tweens and teens, you can have a conversation with them about the plans that are in place should anything happen to you. This conversation should be to reassure them rather than to frighten them, so it should be tackled delicately. And as part of this conversation, you can let them know who their guardian would be. This will give them the opportunity to voice any objections they may have – although you don’t necessarily have to give in to their preferences.

Are they willing to take care of my children?

After you have selected the person you would most like to take care of your children if you are not around, the next and most critical step is to discuss guardianship with that person. Taking care of your children is a huge responsibility and you need to be certain that the person you have selected is up to the task.

The discussion shouldn’t simply be about whether or not they are willing to take on this responsibility, but should also cover all the different aspects of raising your children – especially the financial situation you will leave behind.

Make the right call

When you have considered all the practical and emotional aspects of selecting a guardian for your children, be sure that you write up a will stating your preference, and store it somewhere that is known to your family, so that if the time comes, it’s easy to find. Remember that as hard as these decisions are to contemplate, you owe it to your children to have made the right one for their futures.

  • This post was sponsored by 1Life insurance

 

 

7 thoughts on “Tips for choosing a guardian for your child

  1. Nadine Larter says:

    It is such a hectic topic but so important. I actually never thought about it in terms of “what if something happened to both of us” – I’ve only thought of it in terms of something happening to me.

  2. Zoe Hawkins says:

    We have put something in place, and gotten extra life cover as well. However it’s still so scary, plus we will have to reassess once we move. I once heard you should reassess this decision every 1-2 years… but that just feels so MORBID

  3. Karin says:

    We live in the ME. If something happens to us, she becomes a ward of the UAE government. I shudder to think. We know we have to choose a legal guardian and have given it much thought, but struggle to find the right person/s. thank you for reminding us our daughter is too precious to just leave to anyone.

  4. Davene says:

    My gosh. My heart. Neal and i have been up and down with this. And just as i read your blog I called neal so we could talk about this and just decide. As hard as a decision it is, it’s really such a necessary one. I feel like i should thank you for the push. Thank you.

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