If you are a parent of minor children in Pennsylvania, you may wonder what would happen to them if something happened to you. How can you ensure that your wishes are respected and that your children are in good hands? One way to address these questions is to name a guardian for your children in your will.
The person you select as your guardian, essentially, becomes you after you pass. They take care of your child’s health, welfare, education, etc. until they reach 18. A guardian can also manage the child’s financial assets if you appoint them as a guardian of the estate.
Naming a guardian in your will is not mandatory, but it is highly recommended. It allows you to choose someone you trust and who shares your values and parenting style. It also avoids potential conflicts and disputes among your relatives or friends who may have different opinions on who should raise your children.
How to name a guardian in your will
Naming a guardian in your will is not complicated, but it requires some careful planning and consideration. Think about who would be the best person to take care of your children. Ideally, you should choose someone who has a close relationship with your children, who lives nearby or is willing to relocate, has the time and resources to provide for their needs and who is willing and able to serve.
You may also want to consider the age, health and lifestyle of the potential guardian, as well as your children’s religious beliefs, moral values and educational goals.
Ask the person if they are willing to be a guardian. Before you name someone as a guardian in your will, you should have a conversation with them and make sure they are comfortable with the idea.
You should also explain your expectations and preferences for your children’s upbringing, and discuss any practical issues, such as housing, schooling, finances, etc. You should also ask them if they have any concerns or questions.
Name an alternate guardian
It is possible that the person you choose as a guardian may not be able or willing to serve when the time comes. They may die, become incapacitated, decline the appointment or be disqualified by the court for some reason. Therefore, it is wise to name an alternate guardian in your will, who can step in if the first choice is unavailable.
Write a will that includes your guardian nomination
Draft a will that meets the legal requirements of Pennsylvania. You should also include any specific instructions or wishes you have for your children’s care, such as medical decisions, education plans, religious upbringing, etc.