You have three adult children – and the youngest has a serious disability that will never allow them to live a fully independent life. You know that you won’t live forever, and you need someone to step in as guardian for your youngest once you’re gone.
Should you ask one of your adult children to take on the responsibility? Here’s what you need to consider first.
Not everybody is suitable to be a guardian
You have to consider the unique personalities and characters of each of your other adult children as you make this decision. To be a good guardian, a person:
- Generally needs to be organized, responsible and have a lot of integrity
- Needs to be able to cope with the intellectual demands of the job
- Should be able to manage their own personal and financial affairs well
- Should get along well with their potential ward and have a clear understanding of their needs
In addition, you need to consider each child’s lifestyle. An adult child whose life is stable and settled is a better candidate for a guardian than one who is always on the move and still hasn’t found their footing in their career or personal life.
Not everybody wants to be a guardian
The last thing you want to do is spring this decision on one of your adult children because they may not be receptive to the idea. Even if you think that your eldest child should take over the responsibilities for your youngest, guardianship is a lot to ask of anybody.
You need to have a long, heartfelt conversation with whichever child you think you want to designate as your disabled child’s guardian and give them time to really consider what that entails. If they aren’t emotionally up to the job, you’ll need to explore other options.