For Florida parents with children under the age of 18, the naming of a guardian for minor children is an important part of an estate plan. Generally it is relatively simple to nominate a guardian and even though it may be difficult to talk about, a guardianship plan should not be put off. In this post we will address some common issues about establishing a guardianship for minors.

Before parents can select a guardian for their children, they need to consider the people in their lives who would be a good guardian. When choosing a guardian the most important factor is to know and trust the potential guardian. The person should be in a position to provide stability, and parents may want the potential guardian to live in their geographic area in order to keep the children close to an established support system.

Once parents select one potential guardian think about designating multiple guardians. A good guardian today may not be a good guardian tomorrow. For example, grandparents may not be in the position to be guardians in the future if they have undergone changes in health. Therefore name second and third choices. After the list of potential guardians is developed, parents can designate who they want as their children’s guardian by naming the person or persons in a will.

Be aware that a person who is nominated as a guardian in a will does not have to accept the position, and that is all the more reason to name multiple potential guardians in a will.

A judge will provide the final determination of who becomes a child’s legal guardian. If parents do not nominate a guardian, the decision-making power of naming a guardian is taken out of the parents’ hands and placed solely into the judge’s. Therefore a guardianship nomination in a will not only provides clarity for family members, it also provides a clear sense of direction for the judge.