A guardian serves as a substitute parent and will be responsible for the care and moral training of your child.
Naming a guardian can be a difficult decision.Some things to keep in mind are:
- the person named guardian will probably not raise your child because the odds are likely that at least one parent will survive until the child is grown.
- By naming a guardian, you are being responsible and planning ahead for an unlikely, yet possible, situation.
- Anyone chosen as guardian for your child is second-best – by definition. No one other than you will be the perfect parent for your child, so compromise in some areas should be expected.
- Finally, you should remember that you can change your mind. Naming the best candidate for guardian now doesn’t prevent a change in the future. In fact, you should review the guardian designation as your child grows and situations change.
Ordinarily, the parents’ designated guardian (typically via their Last Will & Testament) will be endorsed by the Court, if the designation is contested. Maryland law provides that no formal guardianship proceeding is required if the guardian is named in the Will.
However, failing to name a guardian for your child has the same effect as specifically appointing the Court to decide whom, among your family members and other petitioners, will be the best guardian for your child. Even your least perfect choice of guardian will likely be better than that of a judge making the decision based on the pleadings and testimony in a guardianship proceeding.