For individuals with minor children, thinking about who would care for them if the parents died unexpectedly may be difficult but necessary. This designation can be made as part of a Houston estate plan, which appoints a person to serve as the legal guardian of a child—only in case of their parents’ untimely passing. Parents without a will should prioritize drafting one, as this documents the individual’s wishes and intents.
When deciding who to name as guardian—or whether to change the designation—there are several aspects to consider:
Factor #1: Location
One factor that many parents do not consider is the physical location of the chosen guardian. If the parent and children currently live in Texas, but the potential guardian lives in California, the question arises of if the children or potential guardian will move. While this person may be the best option as guardian, it may be somewhat disruptive for children to move halfway across the country. States’ laws surrounding estate planning and moving minors out of state differ, so working with an estate planning attorney who is aware of all relevant state laws is critical. Another solution to this issue is to name a temporary guardian—within the child’s state of residence—that can take care of the children until the issues with the relevant out-of-state law are resolved.
Factor #2: Upbringing Preferences
Often, parents have particular wishes about how they would like their children to be raised—this may include religious or spiritual practices. When choosing a guardian, parents should look for individuals with similar upbringing preferences to ensure their child receives a childhood similar to what they intended.
Factor #3: Enthusiasm and Emotional Stability
Serving as a guardian is no easy task; therefore, the decision should not be made lightly, and the parent should ask the potential guardian if they are willing to serve in this role before naming them in their will. If the parent does not discuss this with the potential guardian and then something unexpected happens, the guardian may not be prepared. This role requires emotional stability, considering the guardian will be raising children; while a close friend or family member may seem the obvious choice, if they do not have the maturity to look after a child, they probably are not the correct person to serve as guardian.
It is important to note that individuals can amend their will at any time, in case their chosen guardian is no longer suitable for the role. Because of this, individuals either wishing to name a guardian for the first time—or remove someone as guardian—should contact an experienced estate planning attorney who will raise options and discuss who the right guardian is for you.
Contact a Houston Estate Planning Attorney
If you or a loved one wants to name a guardian to take care of your children in case of your untimely passing, contact the experienced Houston estate planning attorneys at McCulloch & Miller, PLLC. Deciding who to pick as your child’s guardian is often a difficult and complex problem; we will walk you through the process and create the estate plan that works best for you. To schedule a free consultation and to discuss your legal matter with one of our attorneys, give us a call today at 713-333-8900.