On a recent episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians, Khloe Kardashian revealed that she would be choosing her sister Kim over Kourtney to be the legal guardian for her daughter, True Thompson. Khloe felt she was more in tune with Kim’s parenting style, from the way she disciplines to how involved Kim in her kids’ schoolwork. Kourtney, who prides herself on being a full-time mom, was upset.
When you have a big family or large circle of extended family and close friends, naming a legal guardian for your kid or kids can be a very difficult choice, with many things to consider.
When you find yourself facing the decision:
Remember that choosing a legal guardian is part of estate planning, and is part of a tough conversation about if, for some reason, you and your partner were no longer around. “If all of a child's legal parents are dead or incapacitated, and never made arrangements for such an emergency, the child will have to be placed with a new family. This is an extremely disruptive process for the child, even if the new family are grandparents or other relatives. It can be avoided if a parent chooses a guardian for the child in a will or a grant of guardianship,” reports Family Law.
There are two different guardians — guardians of the estate, and guardians of the person. “The former manages the money or assets held by a child, either when the parents are alive or after their death. A guardian of the person, however, is someone who becomes a substitute parent for the child should the child's actual parents die or become incapacitated or otherwise unable to take care of them,” explains Family Law.
“Be aware of the two types, and choose people with the skills or attributes that best suit those roles,” says the report. “In other words, your accountant brother-in-law may be a terrific choice as guardian of the children's estate, but his workaholic nature may make him a poor choice for guardian of the person … You can also choose more than one of each type if you have multiple children. For instance, if you have a large family and know that the burden of raising multiple children or managing their assets would be too much to ask of one person, you can assign certain guardians to certain children."
Parents should lean towards someone they (and their kids) know well, with shared values and a similar parenting style. “You want that person to share your philosophy of childrearing in general.”
You also want to choose someone who has a stable income and enough money for schooling through college. Someone who is also healthy and maintains a healthy lifestyle is important.
Finally, the parents should get both a verbal and a written agreement from the person (or people) they choose. Remember, Family Law says, not to be influenced by others' wishes “as to whom you should select to be your child's guardian. Unless the person you've selected opposes your choice, this decision belongs to the parents alone."
Credit: Khloe Kardashian/Instagram
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