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June 20th, 2012

Picking a Guardian for Your Children

If you have minor children, you’ve probably had a “plane crash” nightmare: You and your spouse are on an airliner, when it suddenly plunges from the sky, leaving your kids at home with Grandma and Grandpa – for the rest of their lives.

Although it’s just a dream, the scenario should alert you to an important part of estate planning: Who do you want raising your children into adulthood if the unthinkable happens?

Many factors go into choosing a guardian for your children or a substitute if your first choice is unable to serve. Among the characteristics to consider:

  • Similar values and lifestyle.
  • Flexibility.
  • Good sense of responsibility.
  • Good health.
  • Fiscally fit.
  • Likes children and has a nurturing personality.

Of course, any wish list must adapt to reality, but keep these characteristics in mind in your search for the right person. There are actually two aspects to guardianship:

  • Serving as guardian of the child.
  • Serving as trustee of the estate a child inherits.

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