Most people would trust their loved ones to care for their children in the event that they pass away early and leave their children with a parent to look out for them.  However, this does not mean that parents should just assume that the worst would never happen to them. The best way to protect your children is to have a plan in place in case an emergency does happen, and this includes deciding who will care for your children after you are gone.

Choosing a guardian for your children is not as easy as it seems. There are important issues that all parents must settle before making the decision. That is why North Carolina estate planning lawyer, Jackie Bedard, has compiled this list of the key questions to consider before choosing a guardian in North Carolina:

  • Will this person be capable of caring for my children for a long time? This may seem like a common-sense question, but we want to remind parents that when they are choosing a guardian, it is important to find a person or couple who will be able to walk with your child throughout their whole life, not just until he or she turns 18 years old. Even if your child’s grandparents seem like the best people to care for your kids, the reality is that you may want to consider age and health factors before choosing a potential guardian.
  • Do the potential guardian’s values, hopes, and dreams match my own? You want your children living in an environment that is as close as possible to the one that you would provide for them. Talk to the potential guardian about their future plans for your children to get an idea of what the environment would be like for your child.
  • Do they live fairly close to other relatives? In the event that your children lose their parents, they are going to need the support of other family members to help them with the grieving process and then to help them throughout the rest of their childhood. Make sure to choose a guardian with a geographic location that allows your children to be near other loved ones.
  • Are the potential guardians capable of raising children? This question may seem obvious, but as organized as a person seems in their job and personal life, a child may change that. For example, if the guardian you are considering is a successful business man or woman who travels a lot, that lifestyle may not be suitable for your child.

If you have minor children, make sure you check out our free guide, on Children's Safeguard Planning, that covers the unique issues involved in estate planning when you have minor children, including naming guardians and protecting their future. Or, contact us to discuss the best way to get started at 919-443-3035 or via our contact form.

Jackie Bedard
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Attorney, Author, and Founder of Carolina Family Estate Planning