I have often wondered why parents don’t do the obvious when it comes to naming guardians for their kids. I mean, it’s a no brainer that parents love their kids and want what’s best for them. Most parents would agree that planning is essential and that it should be done as quickly as possible and this plan should also be kept up to date as the years go by.
Loving parents want to know that their kids will be provided for in the event of their incapacitation or death. They want to know who, what, when, where and how their kids will be raised.
So, why is it so hard for parents to take that leap of the simple and create guardianship instructions for their kids?
I started asking, and, frankly, the answer surprised me. After talking with many parents, including my wife, I realize that one of the biggest reasons (besides procrastination), is that parents have difficulty on deciding and agreeing on who would raise their kids if they weren’t here. And, that often leads to planning paralysis.
What most parents don’t realize, that if they don’t name any guardian, the person who they may never want rearing their kids could fight for their children, leading to a long, expensive, drawn out court process. At best, the person they chose to raise your children ends up winning. At worst, the person that ends up with the kids could be the individual they imagine in their mind and heart as the worst possible choice.
Choosing a guardian doesn’t have to lead to indecision. Using an objective 3 step process, a sound decision can be made. The process is as follows:
1) Choose the individual(s) that you would never ever want raising your children.
2) Now think of an individual(s) that you would consider better at the job than the individual you named in the first step.
3) When thinking about the guardian, don’t choose the persons who you think have the most financial well being-it’s your job to provide that. What you want to consider is will they be the best person in rearing your child to adulthood if you weren’t able and are their values in line with yours. Consider the following qualities/traits when choosing your guardian:
* Values about money
* Work ethic
* Social graces
* Childhood safety
* Parenting styles
* Integrity and stability
* Existing relationship with your children
* Physical well being
* Available time and energy to raise your children
* Willingness to serve
Its human nature, I suppose, that, if we come to an impasse on a decision, it’s much easier to put it off. If this is YOUR reason, though, for not taking the simple steps you need to take to ensure your kids’ futures, then, ask yourself: What will happen if you DON’T take those steps? Wouldn’t it be better to make SOME choices now rather than leaving it up to a judge who doesn’t know you or your kids? Wouldn’t it be better than having family members fighting, possibly, over the decisions that would have been SO easy and better for to you to make NOW?
What most parents don’t realize, that if they don’t name any guardian, the person whom they may never want rearing their kids could fight for the children, leading to a long, expensive, drawn out court process. At best, the person you chose to raise your children ends up winning. At worst, the person that ends up with the kids could be the individual you imagine in your mind and heart as the worst possible choice; a person who the thought of he or she raising your kids leads to sleepless nights and nightmares.
I encourage you to ask yourself honestly why you don’t want to make the decisions now so that your family’s future is secure and not left to chance if, God forbid, something were to happen to you.
Go ahead. Take a chance and see what you come up with. I’ve even included a link to read a story about the Barber Family who failed to make their wishes known before they were tragically taken in a car accident, leaving their kids and family in shambles with the ensuing court battles. What a painful precedence this family set to become the “poster child” for those who fail to do simple planning. (Click HERE to read article.)
I challenge you to at least think about taking this step to make sure your kids are protected… no matter what.