Many people think of estate planning as something that you do not need to worry about until you are older. However, because it is impossible to predict what could happen to you and when, it is a good idea to make an estate plan when you are relatively young.
This is especially true if you are a parent of minor children. You should name a guardian to take care of your child in the event that something happens to you and the child’s other parent. U.S. News and World Report describes some things you should know before naming a guardian.
1. You do not have to wait until the child’s birth
As soon as you or your spouse or partner become pregnant, you can take legal steps to name a guardian for your child. It may be a good idea to be proactive because the first few months of a baby’s life can be hectic. You do not want to forget to name a guardian because you are busy meeting your child’s immediate needs.
2. You should name backup guardians
A lot can happen in 18 years. The person whom you name to be your child’s guardian today may not be available should the need ever arise. You should name successor guardians in case your first choice is unwilling or unable to serve.
3. You should discuss your decision with your chosen guardian before taking any formal steps
Before you name someone to serve as your child’s guardian, you should discuss your decision with him or her. Caring for a child is a huge responsibility, and you need to make sure that the person you choose is willing and able to accept it.
While the court has to approve your choice, a named guardian can also refuse the responsibility. In this case, it is up to the court to choose a new guardian for your child.