Hopefully, you will never need to call upon the person you name as guardian of your child. Yet, as parents, you need to name one just in case the unthinkable happens and your child is left parentless.
Choosing who could step in and raise your child is a big decision, and what’s worse, you and your spouse might each have different preferences. Yet, reaching consensus and documenting it in the correct legal fashion is crucial, and the sooner you do it the better.
You can name more than one guardian
One person might not fill all the qualities you need, so you might name one person to take care of the child, and another to take care of the finances you leave for your child. Here are two things to consider:
- The person: There is no ideal parent, and just as you as parents will have areas you would like to improve, the same will be true for anyone you choose. For example, your sister would be a fun and caring parent, but she struggles to make enough to feed the kids she already has. Or your other sister has the financial means but her political views are at the opposite end of the spectrum from yours.
- The finances: Raising a child is not cheap. A recent report found the average cost of raising a child is $233,610, and that is only until they turn 18 which is when a guardian or parent’s legal responsibility ends. Anyone with children in their 20s will tell you that most kids require financial assistance for long after that, not least if they want to attend college.
Aside from using your estate plan to name a guardian, you can also use it to stipulate how the assets you leave should be used to raise your child. The sooner you start investigating, the sooner you can rest assured that your children will be taken care of if you are not around to do it.