Lawrence T. Ullmann, Attorney At Law
Tax, estate and trust planning, and real estate advice and representation from an experienced attorney.
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Part of the estate planning process involves naming a legal guardian for your children. This person would step in and care for your children in the event that you unexpectedly pass away.

According to the Judicial Branch of California, legal guardianship is a form of court order that dictates who will care for a child when his or her parents no longer can. The guardian takes on many of the same responsibilities and rights as the parents. If you still need to choose a guardian for your minor children, the following tips can help you make a beneficial decision.

1. Act quickly

It can be difficult to think about your children living a life under the care of someone else. However, you should establish guardianship as soon as possible. If you die suddenly, your children may need to live in a foster home while the court works on assigning guardianship.

2. Consider multiple factors

There are many factors to consider when choosing a guardian as part of your estate plan. Some of these should include your potential guardian’s physical ability, emotional stability, location and level of financial responsibility.

3. Ask permission

Many parents avoid revealing their guardianship choice. Although this is usually done to prevent drama, you should discuss your guardianship decision with the person you chose to prepare him or her for this responsibility.

Who you select as a guardian does not have to remain permanent. As your children age or you change your mind, you can update your estate plan to reflect your current guardianship decision.