One element of estate planning that is often overlooked is selecting a guardian for your minor children. Ensuring that your children are raised by someone of your choosing should be one of the primary motivators for you to begin this process early in your adult life. Several people have come to our team here at Stephen A. Martin Attorney at Law asking for guidance when making this decision. However, exact advice on this topic may be difficult to provide.
Section 475.055 of Missouri's Revised Statutes says that any adult may be qualified to act as guardian of a minor child. That certainly does not narrow your options. The easy answer to who should take care of the kids should both you and your spouse die may be the grandparents. Yet what if they are not around (or are incapable of doing so)? Considering "the three P's" of guardianship may help make this decision easier:
- Practicality: You need to choose someone who can realistically provide the type of care and supervision your kids need. That may preclude family members or friends who have physical limitations, or whose professional lives may not allow for optimal parenting time.
- Personality: Your kids will need authoritative parental figures in your absence, not someone who will allow them to do whatever they want. Thus, you'll want to pick a guardian capable of providing such guidance.
- Philosophy: You may also want to consider the parental and moral philosophies of those you are considering as guardians, as you no doubt will want your kids to be raised with the same beliefs and values that you and your spouse possess.
Taking these options into account may help narrow down the choices for you and your spouse to consider. More information on guardianship issues can be found here on our site.