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Choosing a guardian for your child

No matter how emotional the concept, you need to choose a guardian for your child. Otherwise, your death could trigger family disputes and cause your child more trauma, and the person who raises him or her may not be the person you would ever have wanted. Not only that, if you do not appoint a guardian, the court gets to decide.

As Parenting magazine points out, the choice can be a big challenge, though. Here are some things you should consider.

Values and beliefs

As a parent, you have certain values and beliefs that you want to pass on to your child. Write these down and use the list as you weigh whether the person you may want to choose shares them or at least would respect your wishes.

Financial stability

Regardless of whether a person would love and care for your child, if he or she cannot afford to buy food, clothing and other necessities, your child would be miserable. Leaving behind a trust or life insurance policy may solve the problem, but if the guardian is not good with money, you may want to choose someone else as the trustee or executor.

Location

Moving can be difficult for children, and in such a time of upheaval as a parent's death, relocating to another part of the country may compound the issues. If the choice is between two family members who are equally suitable in other ways, choosing the one who lives nearby may make a difference for your child.

Of course, once you know who you want, you still must talk to that person and make sure he or she is up for the job, and then you have to make it legal. When drafting your will, it is wise to name a person as a backup, as well. Once this is done, you should talk to friends and family members about your choice in order to eliminate the potential for conflicts. An attorney can help you create a document that safeguards your child's future.

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