The Importance of a Guardianship

Charleston Estate Planning | Guardianship

It is important to make decisions for guardianship if estate planning for a family with children. Although the probability of both parents passing away may be low, the risks are steep. In the event that no guardianship has been determined, children under the age of 18 will have their guardian appointed by a judge  who may not factor in the considerations of the deceased parents. The inclusion of a guardian in the will is also a quite simple and inexpensive procedure. Our Charleston estate planning attorneys provide legal representation and support for families in the difficult selection process of a guardianship.

Deciding Guardianship

The selection of guardian may be the most difficult part in the process of legally deciding a guardian. Some important factors to weigh in this process may be:

  • Parenting styles, experience and religious values
  • Economic means and time availability to raise other children
  • Proximity of the guardian to other family relatives
  • Age and physical well-being of the guardian
  • Guardian’s comfort level
  • Child’s comfort level
Because raising a child can be expensive, numerous parents choose to create a children’s trust in their will to reduce the economic stress on the guardian. A children’s trust can also create provisions to ensure that the money stays with the child and contributes only to their upbringing, health and comfort. Some parents may also wish to create a letter of instruction to clarify expectations and hopes for the upbringing of their children.
The decision of guardianship is one the most fundamental estate planning choices when planning for the future of any family with children. Our Charleston estate planning attorneys are committed to providing legal representation for the determination and appointment of a legal guardian for South Carolina parents should a sudden or unexpected tragedy occur.
It is also important to note that while discussion of guardianship most often refers to children and legally dependent minors, that the same lessons and principles of guardianship can apply to all dependent persons, including the physically disabled, the elderly, and those otherwise dependent. Estate planning for the family should always include careful consideration and thoughtful discussions to be given to the subject of guardianship for any and all dependent persons in the family.