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Why do I need to assign a guardian?

You need guardianship to ensure your children or dependents are protected and cared for according to your wishes if you cannot do so. Guardianship isn’t just for parents—it’s also for adults who are responsible for the care of individuals with special needs or elderly relatives who may require assistance in managing their affairs. Imagine if something were to happen to you or your partner—what would become of your children?

Without a plan, the court may step in and appoint guardians based on its judgment, which may not align with your wishes. There could also be disputes about who should care for your children or other dependents. By legally appointing a guardian for your minor children or dependents in your estate plan, you ensure that someone you trust will care for them and make decisions on their behalf. Assigning a guardian allows you to proactively protect your family’s future.

Common reasons to establish guardianship:

  • Ensure your children are cared for and supported if you are unable to do so
  • Designate a responsible guardian to make decisions about your children’s upbringing
  • Ensure proper management of any assets or inheritance left to your children
  • Establish guardianship for individuals with disabilities to ensure their unique needs are met
  • Plan for the ongoing care of elderly or incapacitated family members
  • Clarify who will assume caregiving responsibilities to avoid conflicts among family members
  • Have a plan in place for unforeseen circumstances

Strategies to establish proper guardianship

Identify potential guardians for your children or dependents

Start by considering individuals who are willing and capable of assuming guardianship responsibilities. This might include family members, close friends, or trusted individuals who share your values and are willing to care for your dependents. Consider factors such as age, health, financial stability, and lifestyle when evaluating potential guardians.

Have open conversations with potential guardians

Once you’ve identified potential guardians, have open and honest conversations with them about your wishes and expectations. Discuss the responsibilities involved in guardianship, including financial management, education, healthcare decisions, and long-term care arrangements. Ensure they understand the commitment and are willing to accept the role.

Create legal documentation for guardianship

Work with our attorneys at Goff Legal to draft legal documents that establish guardianship arrangements. This typically includes a will, where you can nominate guardians for your minor children, and a durable power of attorney for healthcare, which allows you to designate someone to make medical decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated.

Consider alternative guardianship arrangements

In addition to traditional guardianship, explore alternatives such as standby guardianship or guardianship through a trust. Standby guardianship allows you to designate a guardian to assume responsibilities upon your incapacity or death, while guardianship through a trust provides a framework for managing assets and providing financial support for your dependents.

Review and update the arrangements regularly

Life circumstances change, so it’s essential to review and update your guardianship arrangements regularly. This includes revisiting your will and other estate planning documents to ensure they reflect your current wishes and circumstances. Keep communication lines open with your chosen guardians and revisit discussions periodically to address any changes.

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Important Guardianship Documents

Schedule your consultation with our attorneys

Goff Legal, PC is your trusted law firm specializing in estate planning, trust administration, and fiduciary representation services. We pride ourselves on being super responsive and deeply caring about the long-term relationships we build with our clients. As a female-owned firm, we prioritize professionalism and efficiency, ensuring that clients never feel unheard. Schedule your consultation and allow our attorneys to help you establish clear guardianship arrangements to protect your family’s future.

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