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Designating a guardian for your child

On Behalf of | Feb 8, 2024 | Estate Planning |

When you become a parent, it can feel like a tornado just passed through your life and everything changed. It’s true—becoming a parent changes everything.

After you bring your baby home from the hospital, you will be busy changing diapers, hosting guests and adapting. It is important to enjoy this time because you only experience it once with each child you have.

Designating a guardian

One thing that many parents do not put at the top of their to-do list or want to think about is designating a guardian for their child in case something happens to them.

After all, having a child is an emotional experience and you probably do not want to fathom the idea of ever being without your child.

Think of it as a “one and done” task

However, we all know that life can be unpredictable, and you do not know what the future holds. For this reason, it is wise to get this done. Choosing a guardian for your child is critical. It is one of the most important decisions you will ever make.

If you get it out of the way now, you will not have to think about it unless you want to change the guardian. Most people, though, keep the same guardian for a long time, if not forever, and never have to use them.

It is wise, then, to put this task at the top of your to-do list as soon as you can after your baby is born.

How to choose a guardian

Take the time to reflect on who shares your parenting style, moral values and philosophies about not only parenting but also life.

Ensure they are healthy, have enough money to care for your child if they need to, and make sure they are willing (and excited!) to be designated your child’s guardian.

After all, you want someone who truly loves your child.

The next question to ask is whether the guardian you are thinking about lives in the geographic location where you want your child to live.

If it is in another state, are you in agreement with your child going to live with them in that state?

Making it official

Finally, it is essential to put this on paper and make it official.

By consulting with an attorney who understands the process and what the document needs to comply with Florida law, you can rest assured that your choices will be respected if this were to happen.

Your attorney can explain how to make it official. If you have an estate plan, your attorney will guide you on how to include it, and if you do not have an estate plan, ask your attorney about the benefits of creating one now that you are a parent.



Photo of Jennifer D. Sharpe