How to choose your children’s legal guardian

Deciding who should be your children’s legal guardian in the event that you should die is not an easy thing to do but it is important.

 Choosing a legal guardian for your children is important – for their sakes and for your own peace of mind.

Your kids are growing older and watching them grow is totally amazing. As they grow, we unfortunately also grow older and the reality that one day, some day – we will leave this planet and leave them behind can be a heart-wrenching thought. If that happens before your children turn 18, is there anyone good enough to look after them?

There are so many considerations to take into account before choosing your child’s guardian, so to help you, we’ve done some research and put some of these considerations together to help any of you who might find yourself in the same boat.

Firstly, ask yourself the two following questions…

  1. Do they want your children? You’ve made the decision that John and Jelly Fabulous down the road are the perfect guardians, but… they may not want to be the guardian of your children (Oh my word – who wouldn’t want to look after your fabulous children?!). Deal with it – it’s a serious reality check.
  2. Can they financially support your children? If you really want someone to be a guardian, consider taking out some policies that in the event that you do die before they are 18, they can support your children.

Other considerations

Once you have the list, re-order them in the order of importance so you know what are the most important attributes/aspects you want to consider for the potential guardians.

Consider these top pointers:
  • Can this person afford your child? If not, can you afford to put some things in place so that they can afford it in the event you pass away?
  • Does the person share the same beliefs, morals, and ethics as you and your family?
  • Does your child know this person well enough and/or do they have some form of a bond with the person?
  • Is this person willing to take on the responsibility?

Remember choices can change

People change, people move, people die, relationships change and circumstances change, so you should make sure to have reminders in place to review your guardian choices every year. For example, if granny is to be the guardian and she dies before you pass away and she is specified as guardian, a social worker will need to get involved, and that can be even more traumatising for your child(ren) in the end.

Have a plan B

If you have made your best friend a guardian of your kids and you are all travelling together and have a fatal accident – what then? Make sure to have someone else just in case.

Consider location and residency

If your brother lives overseas and you make him guardian of your kids, for example, your kids would have to get shipped over to the States and they wouldn’t get to see the rest of the family who lives in South Africa.

Consider other children in the house

If your chosen guardian has kids, consider how this would impact your child. Would there be enough attention for your child? Would your child just become a number?