There are many different ways to look at guardianship. In our previous blog post, we mentioned personal values, geography, adaptability, and desire as important factors. Looking beyond that, there are many personal characteristics that make a difference as well. Some of these are difficult to even consider, but necessary nonetheless. Here are a few characteristics of a good guardian for your children.
Although you may select a particular person to be a guardian for your children, their current and future relationships will undoubtedly impact your children’s lives. If guardians are already in a marriage, consider the health of that marriage. Some relationships can be quite contentious and stressful, which may not be the healthiest environment for your children. If they are not in a relationship, what can you learn about past relationships? Are they good about balancing relationships with familial and other life responsibilities?
Many parents have a tendency to pick couples as dual guardians. Future divorces could make guardianship complicated in this case. If you prefer one individual to retain guardianship in the case of divorce, then it may be best to list just that one person as the guardian.
Health & Wellness
Another important consideration is the health of the guardian(s). Selecting someone who lives with a chronic illness may not be fair to them or your children. Furthermore, guardians who are generally in good health are also more likely to be around for a longer period of time, to provide support and guidance for your children.
Let’s face it,… some people are just bad with money. If you are leaving behind life insurance or other funds for your children’s future, it is critical that the adult(s) responsible for managing those funds will be responsible. Otherwise, the funds could get squandered or misused. Keep in mind that guardians need not also be trustees. You can designate two different individuals for those two roles. However, funds may need to be given to guardians for living expenses and other day-to-day needs. So, guardians should still be financially responsible enough for that responsibility.
Other Characteristics of a Good Guardian for Your Children
When considering characteristics of a good guardian for your children, don’t forget to consider personality. Is their personality a good match for your children. That’s not to say that they should have the same personality,… it should simply be a good fit. For instance, if your children are often far too serious, having a fun-loving guardian can provide a helpful balance. What you want to avoid are sets of personalities that may clash in an unhealthy manner. Patience and compassion are also important to help your children through difficult times and transitions.
Please keep in mind that the above are merely some suggestions,… a starting point for difficult decisions. There is no precise formula or methodology for selecting guardians. It ultimately comes down to your own judgement based on your children’s needs and your assessment of the family or friends that will be best suited to care for them.