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Guardianship: an important estate planning decision

Estate planning in Ohio is important for many reasons, and much of that is to protect assets and manage finances. If you are a parent of a minor, estate planning is extremely important in terms of naming a guardian for your child in the event both parents die. Planning for the worst will decrease the stress and worry if something does happen, and you can ensure your child is well taken care of by someone you trust.

According to the State Bar of Michigan, a named guardian is responsible to take over the role of the parent. Some of the decisions and actions a guardian is responsible for include:

  • Providing a stable home environment
  • Providing necessities such as clothing and food
  • Medical care
  • Education
  • Receiving any benefits in the child’s interest 

Because the role of guardian has so many responsibilities, parents should consider a number of things before deciding who the caretaker would be. Forbes provides some advice about how to go about choosing a guardian. An important aspect is to look at who has many of the same values you do, as ideally you would want someone to raise your child similarly to how you do. Consider moral, spiritual, educational and cultural values.

Next, consider who is at a point in his or her life where taking care of a child would be possible. It can be a family member or friend, but it should be someone the child knows, trusts and loves. Ideally, the guardian should also live in the area so the child does not have to uproot everything in life. Finally, have a discussion with your chosen person and make sure it is something agreeable and desired by him or her. It is a big decision for all involved, so make sure everyone is on board.