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What is the purpose of a guardianship?

Many people don't understand the purpose or scope of appointing a guardian for their children. Ideally, all parents would take the steps necessary to make these plans for their children. It would help to take a lot of unnecessary guesswork out of what is going to happen to your children if something happens to you.

What exactly is a guardianship?

A guardianship gives someone else the legal ability to make decisions for your child. You can set the conditions for this to occur. For example, if you don't want the guardianship to go into effect immediately, you can set it up as part of your estate plan so that if you pass away, your children are cared for. If you have multiple children, you need to have a guardianship plan for each child. This can be the same across the board or you can have a different plan for each child.

What should I include with this?

You should include a primary guardian and a backup guardian. This will ensure that your child is cared for even if the first person is unable to fulfill the responsibility. You can opt to include a statement outlining why you chose the guardians you did. This would help the court if there is any question about the suitability. Additionally, the guardian should be able to support the children financially, physically, emotionally and spiritually if applicable.

Appointing a guardian is a huge decision for you to make. It is imperative that you fully understand all of the pertinent points about what you are dealing with. If you have any questions, please get those answered before you move forward.

Source: FindLaw, "How to Establish Guardianship of a Child FAQs," accessed Jan. 03, 2017

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