Naming a guardian can be a difficult decision for many parents. Here are some questions to consider in evaluating whom you’ll designate as guardian:
- Parenting style, values and religious beliefs should be similar to their own.
- Location could be important. If the guardian lives far away, the child would have to move from a familiar school, friends and neighborhood.
- How comfortable with the candidates is the child now?
- If you choose a married couple to serve as guardian, will you still be satisfied if one dies and the other remarries? Would you prefer the disruption to your child of being moved to the care of the alternate guardian, rather than relying on the new, unknown, spouse?
- Consider the child’s age and that of the guardian-candidates. Grandparents may have the time, but they may not have the energy to keep up with a toddler or teenager. An older guardian may become ill and/or even die before the child is grown. A younger guardian, especially an adult sibling, may be concentrating on finishing college or starting a career. If the child is older and more mature, he/she should have some input into this decision.
- How prepared emotionally are the candidates to take on this added responsibility? Someone who is single may resent having to care for someone else’s children. Someone with a houseful of their own children may not want more around, or they may welcome the addition.
- Ask the top candidates if they would be willing to serve, and name at least one alternate in case the first choice becomes unable to serve.