Why should you appoint a Guardian for your children?

woman in brown coat carrying child in orange and white striped polo shirt
Photo by Joice Kelly - Unsplash.com

You may wonder if it’s a good idea to name a legal Guardian for your children. Or why it could be important to do so. These are valid questions, especially considering that every parent wants to provide the best for their children. However, no family is the same, with marital and parental conditions unique to every household. First you have to ask yourself whether appointing a guardian is actually useful for your particular case.

Is this relevant to my situation?

Having a spouse

Well, first of all that is not necessarily relevant to every family. In most cases when a parent passes away, their spouse becomes the children’s guardian. Therefore, if you are happy with your spouse’s parenting skills you probably don’t really need to do anything. There are, though, many other cases that you should consider appointing a Guardian, regardless.

No spouse / Ex-spouse

There is also the possibility that you have no spouse for many reasons: Divorce, death and because you simply never married the father or mother of your children. If that person survives you, chances are that a court will give them custody of your children, even if you were never married. That is especially true if that parent was already involved in your children’s life.

Other relatives

Your other relatives might want to get involved in the process of obtaining  custody rights over your children. It may be important for them to officially receive the guardianship of your children for a variety of reasons. Maybe they don’t like or trust your spouse or partner. Or maybe they were already very actively present in the upbringing of your children. Maybe they even were a parental figure to your children and they want to retain that role. Or in unfortunate cases, they may feel they have something to gain by this guardianship. It’s not unheard of for grandparents and uncles/aunts to try to win over the guardianship of their grandchildren/nephews.

If any of the above conditions are relevant to your family and children, we strongly recommend that you consider your children’s guardianship.

What are the benefits of appointing a Guardian?

All of these situations we have described are valid reasons for you to want to appoint a legal Guardian for your children. Making sure that the probate (or any similar) court knows your wishes regarding your children can be particularly beneficial. 

First of all, it would be good for you to know that you have done your best to make sure that your children are in good hands after you pass away. This can be good for you too. Most parents would experience peace and tranquility knowing they took care of their children even in this worst case scenario.

woman and child standing on seashore
Photo by Brian Gordillo - Unsplash.com

Secondly, it may be easier for your relatives both practically and emotionally. Specifically, they may feel obliged to follow your instructions which could clear up a lot of confusion. Instead of going through lengthy custody proceedings they simply need to follow your wishes. Emotionally speaking, they could also experience a sense of closure and closeness to you since they are aware of your wishes.

It might also be emotionally good for your children to know that their deceased parent did their best to protect them, even after death. Moreover, your children will already be going through the pain and grief of losing a parent. The last thing they need is to have to experience a (often lengthy) custody battle between relatives. Appointing a Guardian in your Last Will may skip this entire process.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, appointing a legal Guardian can have many positive results to you, your children as well as other relatives. A court is still going to perceive this as a recommendation. However, in most contexts a judge would take that seriously into consideration, unless they have concrete reasons not to. 

Myend’s E-Will planner includes a special clause exclusively for your minor children. Therefore, you can appoint the Guardian (or Guardians) of your preference. We are glad to help you provide the best possible to your minor children.

What makes the Guardian you appoint a good candidate? In other words, how can you make a smart choice that both a probate court and your relatives would have no problem accepting? Read more on this on our next post with all sorts of tips for picking a guardian.