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Making the difficult choice: Naming a guardian for your child

Most people don't like thinking about the end of their life, let alone what will happen to their possessions, assets and debts after they have passed. Sadly, that's exactly what an estate plan forces us to do.

Even though everyone should at least consider drafting an estate plan once they reach the age of 30, many do not, oftentimes thinking they will have more time to make a plan down the road. Unfortunately, this way of thinking can be problematic for parents of young children, especially if both parents die at the same time. 

What is a guardianship?

For many parents, it can be incredibly heart wrenching to imagine the possibility of their child going the rest of their life without their parents. As a result, many parents end up dragging their feet instead of taking the appropriate legal action, which is to name a guardian.

Parents can choose to name anyone -- including a friend or family member -- as the guardian for their child. In the event both parents die, the guardian is awarded custody of the child and now has the same rights the child's parents had in life.

Why are guardianships so important?

Guardianships are incredibly important estate planning tools for parents because they provide a plan for a child that accounts for their financial and personal well-being. As a result, a guardianship can offer some solace to parents and children because it clearly defines what a child's future will hold in terms of care and support.

By taking this simple action of naming a guardian in their will, parents can avoid leaving their child orphaned and their fate in the hands of a judge and state laws. Even simply taking control of an otherwise unpredictable outcome can help parents feel more confident about their child's future.

Making the right call

Whether you're a new parent or your kids are already in school, considering your child's future should come with the territory. But if establishing a guardianship can do this and more, shouldn't it be something you talk to an attorney about sometime soon?

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