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Common Mistakes People Make When Naming Guardians for their Children

Updated: Dec 11, 2023

If you’re thinking about naming permanent or short-term guardians for your children here are the most common mistakes you might make. 1. Don’t name a couple to act as guardians when you don’t really want both people. Make sure you specify what should happen if the couple breaks up or one of the partners in the couple dies. 2. Make sure you name enough alternates to serve if your first choice cannot serve. 3. Don’t consider financial resources when deciding who should raise your children. I’ll state this plainly: Your guardians do not have to also be financial decision-makers for your kids. They should be the people who will make the best health care, education, housing, spiritual, discipline, and care decisions for your kids. It’s your responsibility to leave enough money behind to take care of your kids either through savings or life insurance. You can name someone other than your guardians to take care of that money if the best choice guardians are not "good with money". 4. Be sure to name someone to take care of the money you are leaving behind, and leave adequate instruction so that they may follow your wishes and use the money wisely. 5. Don’t only name long-term care guardians - make arrangements for the immediate term if you are in an accident. 6. Be sure to specifically exclude those who you do not want to raise your children or anyone who might challenge your guardian decisions. You don’t want your freaky know-it-all relative (mother, sister, brother, cousin) to try and take control when he or she is the last person you’d want to raise your kids.

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