If you have children, you will need to designate a legal guardian for them when you formulate your estate plan. According to the Illinois General Assembly, the guardian you assign must be at least 18 years of age or older, a resident of the U.S. and of sound mind. He or she must also have a criminal record free from felonies.
If you do not solidify a legal guardian for your children, the courts may take over this decision if you die. Although it is important to choose someone who will love and care for your children, there are other factors you should consider as well.
Take health and age into account
You may automatically assume your parents or grandparents are the ideal guardians for your children, for example, but they may be too old to take on the responsibility of caring for your children. Keep in mind that you can also designate a guardian for specific lengths of time. For instance, one guardian can care for your children until they reach the age of 12 and then another guardian could take over.
Consider the person’s values
As you plan your estate, you may decide that you want your children raised in a specific religion, for example. Other factors you should think about include the person’s parenting style, educational views and morals.
Think about the person’s work and financial situation
Some factors to think about include whether the potential guardian has a good job, owns a home and whether he or she travels a lot for work. You should also take into account how well the guardian gets along with other members of your family.
Do not automatically rule out relatives or friends who live far away from you. Although requiring your children to move to another city or state may be difficult, if the guardian is the ideal person, the situation will likely work out.