For anyone with minor children, a Last Will and Testament does much more than determine how estate assets will be divided upon death. In fact, probably the most important function of a Will for parents is the ability to nominate a guardian for their children. If you are in the process of creating or revising a Will, the following factors may help you decide on whom to nominate as guardian for your children:
- Capacity – does your potential guardian have the maturity, stability and emotional capacity to raise your children? In addition, does he or she have the financial ability to support them? Although you may be able to provide financial support through your estate plan, your guardian must have the overall capacity for the job.
- Desire – never assume that someone is willing to be the guardian for your children. Take the time to sit down and discuss the possibility with him or her to make sure that your potential guardian is willing to serve in the position.
- Proximity – choosing a guardian that lives close to you, or one that is willing to re-locate if necessary, will help your children through what is bound to be a traumatic time.
- Familiarity – by the same token, nominating someone with whom your children already have a relationship will also help them adjust.
- Beliefs – you may feel more comfortable, and your children may adjust better, if you select a guardian who shares your basic belief system, your philosophy of parenting, and your religious beliefs.
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