Understanding Guardianship

Chicago Estate Planning | GuardianshipOne of the most crucial steps in estate planning for any family with children would be the process of appointing guardianship. While it is unlikely that both parents should pass away in the lifetime of their children, the risks of not deciding guardianship are high. If no plan for guardianship has been determined, then all children who are still legally minors will have their guardian appointed by a judge  who may not necessarily consider the wishes of the parents. The inclusion of a guardian in the will is also a quite easy process to forego. Our Chicago estate planning attorneys offer legal counsel for families in the selection of a guardianship.

Appointing Guardianship

The selection of guardian may be the most challenging part in the process of legally appointing a guardian. Some important factors to consider in this process might be:

  • The guardian’s parenting styles, parenting experience and religious views
  • The guardian’s proximity to the children’s school
  • The guardian’s economic stability and financial responsibility
  • The guardian’s age, health and lifestyle
  • the children’s comfort level with the guardian
  • the guardian’s comfort level with raising other children
Because raising a child can require a lot of money, many parents also establish a children’s trust in their Last Will & Testament to lower the economic burden on the guardian. Unlike a direct lump sum inheritance, a children’s trust can create provisions to ensure that the money stays with the child and contributes only to their upbringing. Some parents also provide a letter of instructions to layout their upbringing expectations, parenting values and other wishes for the future of their children.