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Caring For Generations

In Naming Guardians, Think of the What-Ifs

by | May 1, 2024 | estate and tax planning, Estate Planning, estate planning in Indiana, estate planning lawyer, Guardianship

For parents, an essential part of estate planning involves naming a guardian for minor children. While a guardian can be anyone who is at least 18 years who is not currently incarcerated and who is of sound mind, parents’ choices of guardian can mean the difference between stability and chaos, as one New York Times article pointed out.

In the state of Indiana, the duties of a legal guardian include providing the child with:

  • a safe, stable and appropriate home
  • adequate food and clothing
  • education
  • health, mental health, and dental care

The guardian’s rights include the authority to consent to and make decisions regarding:

  • school enrollment
  • health and mental health services.

Wisconsin lawyers Angermeier & Rogers list important considerations when choosing a guardian for one’s children:

  • parenting skills (Are they good with kids? Do they have kids of their own?)
  • location and living situation
  • religious and moral beliefs
  • financial stability
  • age and stage of life

Naming a married couple as co-guardians could create issues if they divorce. You may be better served to name one guardian and the other as an alternate, Leslie Farber suggests on LinkedIn.

At Rebecca W. Geyer & Associates, our work is designed to help prepare our clients for all of life’s twists and turns. For parents of young children, choosing guardians is a crucially important aspect of their estate plan. Of course, a surviving parent would have first right to custody. In the awful event that neither parent survives, each minor child needs to have a guardian named. There are two types of guardianship – “Guardian of the Person,” and “Guardian of the Estate,” who handles the child’s finances.)

In selecting guardians – and gaining their consent to serve – there are many factors to consider. It is difficult to contemplate terrible scenarios, but even worse contemplating a scenario in which the court is in charge of finding a new home for your bereaved children.

At Geyer Law, we carefully evaluate each family situation before recommending and developing a customized guardianship plan for clients’ children. Contemplating the what-ifs makes a compelling case for this estate planning must-do!

– by Ronnie of the Rebecca w. Geyer blog team