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Choosing a Guardian for Your Children: Best to Pick One and Not a Couple

Posted by Anthony Serra | Apr 09, 2020 | 0 Comments

Choosing a Guardian for your Children

Let's face it. No one can raise your children the way you can. No one can substitute for your influence and role in your children's lives. But if the unthinkable happens and you are no longer around to raise your children, someone else will fill that void. So, you are obviously better off planning for the unthinkable rather than relying on others to fill that vacuum after you are gone.

When choosing a guardian, many people look to a sibling or good friend to fill that role. Someone who shares your values, parenting style and aspirations for your child. In many cases, that sibling or friend is married so the initial reaction is to appoint both the family member and his or her spouse as a couple. On its face that seems reasonable, but what happens if the family member or friend is no longer married to that same person, yet you appointed both of them in your will “as a couple?” Who is the guardian? Your family member or his or her spouse? One would presume it is the family member or friend, but that is not what the will says. You want to avoid this ambiguity.

The best way to avoid this confusion is to name just the particular family member or friend you wish to serve as guardian. For example, if you want your sister Penny Lane to be guardian, name just Penny Lane to be the guardian of your children and not “my sister Penny Lane and her husband Rodger Lane.” This way, if something happens to that relationship, there is no question that between Penny Lane and Rodger Lane, it was Penny Lane you wanted to be guardian for your children. That will eliminate any ambiguity and confusion if, yes, the unthinkable happens.

Always prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

About the Author

Anthony Serra

Tony Serra is a passionate advocate, especially for the elderly, disabled and those of modest means who need the services of an experienced and caring attorney. For more than 30 years, Tony has been helping common, everyday folks navigate their way through life's turbulent waters. Through innovation and utilizing modern technology, Tony and his law firm are now able to offer quality legal services that at one time were prohibitively expensive, at a fraction of the cost. If you need basic legal services, such as a Will, Power of Attorney, Living Will, Special Needs Trust, real estate transactions, uncontested guardianship pleadings and much more, please visit our website and our SMART LAW legal services platform. You will be pleasantly surprised by what we offer and glad you did! Tony is also an experienced mediator and founder of the Conflict Resolution Center of NJ. Tony has specific training in family matters as well as elder law and contested guardianship and estate cases.  

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