You have a dependent relative who is precious to you, and you naturally want to secure their future — even if you aren’t here to see it. But picking a guardian in case you aren’t around to take care of your parent, mentally-impaired relative or special needs child isn’t an easy task.

You can make it easier by avoiding some common mistakes. Remember these guidelines:

  1. Don’t forget about emergency care. Your designated guardian may not be immediately available after an emergency, especially if they live at a distance. You don’t want your relative thrown into the court system because your babysitter doesn’t know who to call except for the police if you don’t come home after a night out. Designate a couple of temporary caregivers to take charge until the formal guardian can take over.
  2. Don’t pick a married couple. It might seem like a good idea to name your sister and her husband as your disabled child’s guardian, but that can be problematic if they later divorce. You don’t want your child’s life to be thrown into chaos unnecessarily.
  3. Don’t forget to pick alternate guardians. Between today and the time a guardian may be needed, a lot of things can happen. People move, develop medical problems, lose their jobs and have all kinds of lifestyle changes. You need alternate choices on your list in case your first (or second) choice cannot serve — for whatever reason.
  4. Don’t forget to specifically exclude the people you don’t want as guardians. If you think, for example, that your brother’s religious and political ideologies don’t mess with your beliefs, you need to specifically exclude him from consideration and leave an explanation as to why.
  5. Don’t mix finances with guardianship. A guardian isn’t necessarily the right person to handle your relative’s financial interests. Consider carefully whether you want the two jobs to be combined.

If you’re looking for compassionate, caring representation and guidance as you make these decisions, contact our office for assistance.