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What to consider when choosing a legal guardian

January 20, 2017

Are you asking the right questions when it comes to who will be your child’s legal guardian? 

Here’s a sad but true fact: we are not immortal. With 100 percent certainty, the end is inevitable. Often, we find ourselves avoiding particular scenarios in life because it brings discomfort or a certain unease – this is a common occurrence when deciding on a legal guardian

The decision-making process for determining legal guardianship can be one of the most emotionally taxing conversations and understandably, often avoided. This emotional predicament can manifest itself into insecurity and doubt. However, there is something else to consider that is far more fear - inducing, if you don’t come to a decision, the government will. The court will make a ruling that is believed to be in the best interest of the child. This decision will be solely based on their standards and protocols; often more qualified non-relatives can be an overlooked solution. Consider this outcome when toiling over the hardship of making the decision

So, what does legal guardianship really mean? Will they get the estate too? A legal guardian is a person who has legal authority to care for another person, in this case, your child. The legal guardian will take physical custody of the child due to incapacity or the instance of death. The legal guardian will make decisions on certain significant life milestones such as medical treatment, signing permission, religious following and education. If you’ve enlisted an estate attorney, then your wealth and your child(ren)s welfare are two separate entities and the ownership is not influenced by one or the other. They are each mutually exclusive.

When considering legal guardianship candidates, remember, none of them will be perfect because they’re not YOU, and it’s important to accept that. Determine the BEST guardian, not the most perfect, they simply don’t exist. Accompanied by your all current legal guardians, brainstorm the most vital qualities and attributes this person needs to have. Consider certain traits such as marriage stability, religion, geographical location, financial responsibility, values, and education. Once you have the attributes, begin listing potential candidates. Assign a value from one to five for each trait within the list of people you have. Whoever scores the highest is your best option. If all involved have differing opinions, be sure to communicate and compromise, ultimately coming to a unanimous decision. Keeping in mind, your choice is always going to be better than the governments. 

*NPC does not provide tax or legal advice.

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Written by: Jeff Motske, CFP®

Jeff Motske is a published author, an accomplished executive, radio personality. He is recognized among the top 1% of financial advisors in America. Jeff is one-of-a-kind in the financial services world
because he knows and lives what so few people really understand: financial success isn’t a destination, it’s a choice and a commitment, one decision at a time.

For more than 25 years, Jeff has worked with clients to help them to achieve financial independence, and to work through money issues.

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