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Appointing a Legal Guardian – What You Need to Know

Your children are precious to you, and you would do anything to keep them safe.  Did you know it is possible to protect them even when you are no longer able to do so yourself due to an untimely death? Appointing their legal guardian is the only way of ensuring they are placed with a family of your choosing.

To avoid having the circuit court appoint a guardian for your children you must have a will and name a guardian in that will. Also, you should consider appointing an alternate guardian in case the primary guardian is unable to serve.

Choosing a legal guardian for your child (or children) can be a difficult process. When considering the best person to care for your children, be sure to choose someone who has a genuine interest in your children’s welfare, has enough time to care for them, is financially able to raise your children, and has similar moral values as you so that they can guide your children through their lives as you would.

Once you have decided who would be most appropriate, sit down with them and discuss if that is something they would consider. Have an open discussion on how that would play out in their life to ensure they are comfortable with your decision and the added responsibility. Appointing (and becoming) a legal guardian takes a tremendous amount of consideration by both parties.

Your planning for this appointment should include consideration of directing your trustee to make periodic payments to your guardians to offset the additional costs they will incur. Also, consider if the guardians would need a larger house or vehicle and direct your trustee to pay for some or all of these costs.  Alternately, you could allow your trustee to make those decisions using their discretion at that time.

Although we hope the situation never arises, putting a plan in place for the protection your children is wise.

If you have questions or want to discuss how to include a legal guardian in your will, contact our team at Layman & Nichols, P.C. We are ready to help. Contact us here.

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