How to Pick a Guardian for your Child

Picking Guardian Graphic-2

**Update** Make sure you listen to our interview with Michelle-Shari Kruss on the 8/27 podcast! You can stream it from the player to the right, or download with the link below.

In celebrating the birth and life of a brand new baby, one of the last things (if not at all) on the minds of parents is the idea of picking a guardian for your child(ren) in case of a tragedy.

If it’s your first child you may never have discussed the idea of who may care for your new bouncing baby if you and your spouse were to die.  It’s a conversation that isn’t easy to have at any time, but one that could become one of the most important things you do as a parent.  Planning ahead and putting your wishes on paper can make a significant impact on your child’s life.  In addition, to providing comfort and peace of mind for you.

Choosing a guardian for some may be easy, for others difficult.  Spouses often have differing perspectives and ideas about who should become legal guardians, and family can play no small role as well.

Attorney Michelle-Shari Kruss, specializes in estate planning and says start with a list.

“When considering whether someone should be on the list, ask yourself, ‘would they provide a better home for my children than the foster care system?’”  While most people you know would likely fall into the “yes” category, take it a step further.  List the factors you and your spouse feel are most important in raising your children.

Kruss suggests considering these and more.

  • Maturity/Patience
  • Stamina/Age
  • Child-rearing philosophy
  • Presence of children in home already
  • Interest in and relationship with your children
  • Ability to meet physical demands of child care
  • Religion or spirituality
  • Marital or family status
  • Social and moral habits and values
  • Willingness to adopt your children

Using those criteria along with your own, you can match each factor with your list of potential guardians to help narrow those who  you may choose.  If even after all of this, you still are having trouble selecting just one couple or person, Kruss suggests consider a “Guardianship Panel.”

“The panel can consist of family members, loved ones and trusted friends who will decide together as a group who would be the best guardian for your children when and if the time comes.”

You alone are the only ones who can truly decide who is best to potentially raise your children.  While the topic is not one new or established parents want to discus, keeping your family together and cared for is an important step parents must consider as they enter the most joyous time of their lives.

You can find more on guardianship and family law from Michelle-Shari Kruss on her blog here.

You can subscribe and download the “Dads Who Diaper” podcasts on iTunes here.

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5 Responses to "How to Pick a Guardian for your Child"

  1. Bethany  July 9, 2014 at 9:36 am

    Great tips! Choosing a guardian is so tough. The idea of a guardian panel is really helpful! Maybe not something I’d use long term, but at least to have in place until deciding on a sole guardian. (Much better than having no say at all!) Thanks for sharing!

  2. Pingback: Invited to Podcast on Dads Who Diaper | Michelle-Shari Kruss, Attorney at Law

  3. Jaxon Amsbury  August 27, 2014 at 4:40 pm

    What an informative podcast! Ms. Kruss did a wonderful job of making the entire process of choosing a guardian seem manageable and positive, I’d love to hear more from her in the future.

  4. Chad  August 27, 2014 at 7:06 pm

    Thank you Jaxon, we also look forward to having Mrs. Kruss back on soon! Stay tuned!

  5. Pingback: Lawyer vs. DIY Documents for Estate Planning? | Dads Who Diaper

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