Of all the discussions surrounding our estate plan, the issue of appointing a guardian has been the most stressful for my partner and me. We are both attorneys and still had a difficult time working through the estate planning process. because of questions like these. Family? Well, our parents are aging and generally not in a position to chase around a 3-year-old. My siblings are a lot younger and in the process of figuring out their own lives.
Friends? Most of our friends who actually want children, have toddlers of their own. And, let’s face it, in these difficult economic times, no one is rolling in money. How important is location? If such a catastrophic event occurred, our daughter’s life would be shattered enough, would we want her taken from her home, school and community? Or is it more important that she be cloaked in the comfort of familiar people and things? Who will raise her with the beliefs and values that we have worked so hard to instill?
The truth is that no one else can be us. But, a good estate plan gives the guardians we choose a fighting chance to raise her according to our wishes. We have spoken to the guardians about what is important to us and we have ensured that our plan leaves instructions, and assets, for her continued care. As difficult as these questions are, we worked through them and came up with a guardian plan that gave both of us peace of mind that our daughter will be taken good care of in the event of a catastrophe.