The apple of your eye – that’s what a child is to you right? You’d do anything to protect the child until it grows into an adult. That’s when it can take care of itself as a person.
But during that time, the child is vulnerable; both physically and mentally. Although it has nothing to worry about while you and your spouse exists to take care of it. A family, as it should be.
So, if god forbid, the unthinkable happens, what would you do? Or rather what would your child do? What if it loses both you and your spouse?!
Guardians to the rescue
Guardian is the person who would take care of your child in your permanent absence, to put it lightly. It is usually a person in whom you have complete faith. That person is the one who you trust inherently. The first and foremost thing you should do is talk to that person about this possibility.
But legally and logically, that’s not quite enough. There are a few requirements which your guardian needs to fulfill before you can take the plunge:
- That person should have parenting experience or should at least be aware about the right way of parenting.
- The person should be of sound mind, have good health and be of an appropriate age.
- The person should be able to dedicate enough time and energy to look after your child until the child attains the age of 18.
- If your family has certain religious beliefs, then that person’s beliefs should not create a conflict with your family’s beliefs.
- Your child should be comfortable with that person around. There’s no use for a person who your child does not trust.
- If that person has children, then your child should be able to fit in with them, and vice versa.
- The person’s standard of living and overall lifestyle should be encouraging towards the normal life of your child.
- The guardian’s location matters. It should be close to where you child lives, for quick access.
- Last, but not the least, the person should be financially sound.
These are just a few requirements. An attorney should help you get more information and help you with the next step too, after you have made the disclosure about the person.
Once this is done, you need to take care of the formalities.
When you have the right person in mind, you need to declare that person as your nominated guardian officially. If you do not do this, then the court has the authority to take the matter in its own hands. And you won’t have any control over the decision, which would be made on your behalf, by the way. It can also keep the child protection services at bay and save you and your child from a certain, sordid experience.
You should then make that person’s name known to all the people related to the child. This includes immediate family members as well as any grand parents, aunts and uncles on both the paternal and maternal side. This should alleviate any battles for custody.
After that, you and your attorney should discuss how to formalize this into a legal document, also called as a will. Ask for the following things from your attorney at the very least:
- Detailed information about guardianships and the entire process, even if you know some part of it.
- Explanation regarding the statute and laws governing this process and know if any legal entity can overturn your decision.
- Any other requirements which the nominee should fulfill.
- Draft a proper provisioning document which clearly states your wishes and expectations about the raising of your child.
- Understand the financial minutiae of the process and its economic implications on the child.
- Ask for possible appointment of trustees which can take care of the child’s expenses if you have not made such provisions, or if the nominee is incapable of incurring extra expenses related to the child.
Appointing a guardian can be a tedious process because you do not have any control after the unfortunate incident. The least you can do is be prepared for such incident. It is even more important that you prepare your family and child to survive after that incident.
After all, who’s going to keep the family name after you are no longer there?