Estate Planning Lawyer
If you’ve been thinking about the end of your life, chances are you’re making a will. While this can be done at any stage of life, it’s often important to do so when you are a young adult. Be sure you make changes to the will as your life changes. For example, if you get a new job and begin making a lot more money, you might want to distribute your funds differently. If you get married, you’ll probably want to include your spouse in the will. When you have children, you’ll typically include them as well.
Speaking of children, when they are minors, you’ll need to name a guardian for them in your will. What is a guardian? How do you choose someone? The following should give you some additional guidance.
The Definition of a Guardian
A guardian is someone the court appoints to care for your children. If you make a will, you get to decide who that individual is. There are different types of guardians, however, and you should be aware of that when you go to make your will.
First, there are physical guardians. These individuals are responsible to take care of the physical and emotional needs of your children. These are the individuals your children would live with, who would feed them and clothe them, take them to school and extracurricular activities, and provide love and care for them overall.
Next, there are estate guardians. These individuals are responsible to handle your estate as it applies to your children. Financial decisions will be made for the children by the estate guardian. This means if you want your children to attend a private school, the estate guardian would make the payment each year. If you have a trust set up for the child’s future college or marriage expenses, the estate guardian would handle that as well.
Finally, there are personal and estate guardians. These are individuals who make all the decision for the child, including medical, physical, financial and more. This gives authority to the guardian to do everything a parent would typically do.
How to Choose a Guardian
There should be a lot of thought put into who you should choose as guardians for your child. For a physical guardian, choose someone with similar values to your own. Choose someone who you trust to love and care for your child as their own. Ask someone who you know will raise the child the same way you would.
For a financial guardian, choose someone you trust with money, as well as someone you trust with your child. This person may become a big part of your child’s life, so you may want there to be a personal connection. It’s not essential the physical guardian and financial guardian get along well, but it does make the situation much easier.
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