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How can I choose the right guardian for my child?

Among the many important tasks a will can accomplish, selecting a guardian for your minor child is perhaps the most vital. While the topic can be unpleasant to consider, failure to put your wishes in writing will result in the court making a decision on your behalf. To help you through the tough selection process, Forbes recommends the following advice.

Does your child feel at home with the person?

Transitioning into a new family is tough. That’s why it’s important that your child has a solid relationship with the person you choose right now. If your child feels at ease with a relative or trusted friend, it will be much easier to adapt to the new environment. In the same token, a potential guardian should also offer a stable home life. This entails financial stability and a secure home appropriate for raising kids in.

Does the person share your values?

If you have particularly strong beliefs or values, it’s important that a guardian feels just as strongly. This is true of things like religious or spiritual beliefs but can also extend to education and culture. Make a list of the most important lessons to teach your child and consider who among your loved ones fits the bill. Don’t relegate your choices to just close family members either, as even friends and distant relatives can be named.

Is the person married or coupled?

If you choose a person who is currently in a relationship, you may want to name him or her directly to avoid issues in the future. If the guardian gets divorced, it could end up in a contentious custody battle. If the guardian currently has children, consider how a new child will impact their home life. Even if a person is a match in terms of personality it doesn’t mean other resources will also be available. Once you make your decision, you can then contact the guardian to ask for permission. Just be sure to update your will with this information when it's finalized.

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