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What Happens to Your Kids if Something Happens to You? Navigating Guardianship

family heirlooms

If you have children, you understand the importance of providing them with love and care around the clock. So, who will care for your children if you and your spouse suddenly pass away? When you create an estate plan, you will have the opportunity to name a guardian for your underage children. Let’s dive into some key factors to consider:

  • Age: While age shouldn’t be the sole determining factor, it’s worth considering the age of the potential guardian. A younger guardian may have more energy to keep up with active children, but they may lack the life experience needed to handle financial responsibilities or guide your children through difficult times. On the other hand, an older guardian may provide stability but could face health challenges. Finding the right balance is essential.
  • Personality: Your chosen guardian’s personality plays a significant role in how they interact with your children. Look for someone who shares similar values and parenting philosophies. Consider their ability to provide a nurturing and supportive environment. If a potential guardian has a history of being unreliable or irresponsible, it’s wise to explore other options.
  • Location: Think about where the potential guardian resides. If they live far away, it might mean uprooting your children from their familiar surroundings. Keeping siblings and step-siblings together geographically can also be an important consideration for maintaining their close relationships.
  • Lifestyle: The lifestyle of the potential guardian is an important factor. If you have specific religious or cultural beliefs that you want your children to be raised with, it’s crucial to choose a guardian who shares those values. Consider the guardian’s stability, availability, and ability to provide a consistent and loving home environment. For instance, if the potential guardian has a demanding career or frequently travels, they may not be the best fit for the primary caregiver role.
  • Marital status: Think about whether you prefer your children to live with a married couple or if you are open to a single guardian. Consider the stability and support a marital relationship can provide, but also recognize that being single does not necessarily make someone unfit to be a guardian.
  • Children’s preference: In many states, including Arizona, a child has the right to veto your choice as guardian. If you have older children, consider their preferences, but remember, your children don’t make the ultimate decision. It’s still up to you to select an appropriate guardian based on many factors.

Remember, choosing a guardian is not a decision to be taken lightly. Take the time to have open and honest conversations with potential guardians, discussing your expectations and concerns. Seek guidance from an experienced estate planning attorney who can help you navigate this process and ensure that your wishes are properly documented in your estate plan.

If you need assistance with any aspect of estate planning, including choosing a guardian for your children, reach out to our law firm. You can contact us via email at info@kinghornlaw.com or by phone at 520.529.4000. Our compassionate team of legal professionals is here to support you in making the best decisions for your family’s future.


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