In Part 3 of Choosing Your Child's Guardian, you matched potential guardians with characteristics that are most important to you. In other words, you matched people to priorities. Now let's conclude this process by making it a positive experience for you and those you ultimately choose to help you with this extraordinary opportunity.
Step Four: Make it Positive
For some parents, getting past this decision quickly is the best way to achieve peace of mind and happiness. For others, choosing a guardian can be the start of a more intensive relationship-building process. An attorney who listens and understands where you and your spouse fall on that spectrum can counsel you appropriately.
For those who want to use the estate planning process as a life-enhancing inquiry, consider the following:
- Once they know how strongly you feel about their loving and good characters, your appointed guardians may choose to become more involved with your children (as “godparents” do in some religions);
- Focus on what you want for your children. Whether you are there to provide it or not can clarify your own parenting priorities, in addition to enabling you to create a highly customized estate plan that conveys your morals and values;
- Consider what you want to achieve with your children while they’re still at home with you? What legacy do you want to leave for them when you say goodbye?
Nominating a guardian can be an intensive, life-changing process, but it can also be the easiest “legal” issue you’ll ever face. The nomination of guardianship itself can be a very brief document, a short paragraph in a will, or a detailed provision in a comprehensive living trust. Use this 4-part article as a resource as you make these tough decisions… but only take what works for you. Nominating guardians need not be a life-long event. Know that no matter how you choose to complete the process, you will find a new level of peace of mind once you complete it.