Full Kids Protection Planning

8 Steps for Effective Guardian Nomination

  1. Name guardian(s) in a separate freestanding document – NOT just in your will
    • Will be COMPLETELY INEFFECTIVE if incapacitated
    • Terms of guardianship and children’s inheritance contained in a will become public documents and subject to costly, time consuming part of the Probate process
  2. Plan for Short Term & Long term.
    • What happens in the immediate hours after accident or death until permanent guardian can arrive
    • Short term guardian and successor should be local friends/family within 20 min
  3. Name more that 1 potential guardian in case your named guardian is unable or unwilling to step in when needed.
  4. Clarify if naming a couple or an individual. Often people name a couple when they really want only one of the 2 and then fail to direct what happens if couple divorces, remarries, passes away.
  5. Exclude – in writing – anyone you would NEVER want to be the guardian of your children or be able to contest your guardianship decisions.
  6. Avoid taking financial resources into consideration when deciding who should raise your children.
    • Figure out a way to leave enough money to your children in a trust or other protected mechanism to ensure Guardian has enough to raise your children as you would like, and money is made available to your children as they grow older and mature.
    • Guardians often should make distribution decisions about spending but not necessarily investment/financial decision makers about your children’s inheritance.
  7. Protect the finances needed for the Guardian to raise your children in the manner you would like through a mechanism like Living Revocable Trust. Make sure you have set aside sufficient resources (e.g., life insurance, retirement savings) in a mechanism that makes the finances available as needed while protecting your children’s inheritance.
  8. Provide detailed instructions and documentation of what to do and who to call in an emergency – to short term guardians/successors, caregivers, schools and long-term guardians/successors
    • Legacy planning beyond just assets – values, family relationships, etc.
    • Instructions for making guardianship permanent – or contact to use to guide through process
    • Family emergency ID card
    • Children’s medical power of attorney and health care information form