If you are a caregiver to a child, an aging parent, or someone else, one question likely hangs heavy in your mind: Who will take care of my loved one when I am gone?
For many, providing for the care of a loved one is the most critical part of an estate plan. Designating a guardian in your Will ensures that you have a say in the matter, and their caregiver will not be chosen arbitrarily by courts when you can no longer decide.
Guardianships for Children
There are many factors that you should consider when choosing a guardian for your child or children. While unique factors play into every situation, these are a few considerations that everyone should keep in mind:
- Values: From religious beliefs to education to politics, you’ll likely want to choose someone whose values are similar to yours. The environment your child is raised in will have an enormous impact on the type of adult they grow up to be.
- Age: Many people want to name their own parents as their children’s guardian. And sometimes this works out wonderfully! But it’s also important to consider age. Will they have the energy to care for your children? Will they lose out on their chance to enjoy retirement and an empty nest? Will they become elderly and need to depend on your child before your child is ready to stop depending on them?
- Location: Your sister may be the perfect candidate, but if she lives on the other side of the country, you’ll need to consider the impact that relocation will have on your children? Will they have to leave their school and their friends?
- Stability: Generally, we try not to pry into other people’s relationships, but it’s important to be certain that the environment will be stable for your child. If the couple you plan to name as guardians is having marital issues and on the brink of divorce, it’s best to rethink.
If you care for an adult who is legally incapable of making decisions and caring for him or herself, you can also establish an adult guardianship. Many of the same considerations that you would make when choosing a guardian for a child should be taken into account. You should choose someone who already has a strong relationship with the adult in question.
How do I get started?
You should certainly ask permission from the person before naming them as a guardian in your will. Make sure they are ready and willing to take on this responsibility should the need arise.
When you are ready to proceed, you should contact an estate planning attorney. The lawyers at Pence Law Firm, P.C. have experience helping Oklahoma clients with these issues. Call us at (918) 367-8505 to learn more about how we can help you with your estate planning needs.