First, list up to 5 possible individuals or couples who would be willing to raise your children for you if you were not able to do so. You should list at least 2 individuals or couples. If this is difficult, keep in mind the alternative to you naming the guardian is having a Judge make the choice for you. Anyone of your family members can petition for Guardianship in the absence of your nomination, but wouldn't you rather choose?
If you are having a hard time ranking your nominees, consider the following: What relationship does your child have with the people you listed? How old are they -- both your children and the nominees? Where do they live? What is their religious belief? What is their discipline style? What are their personal values?
Now, consider who on your list best fit with your values and arrange your nomination list accordingly.
"Til death will they part?" Maybe.
Did you select a married couple as the potential guardians for your kids? If you did, decide how you want the guardianship set up if they separate or if one of them was injured at the same time you were. Put it this way, imagine your couple is husband and wife and the she was injured in the same accident as you. Do you want the husband to take custody alone or would you prefer to name the next person or couple on your list?
Yes, wife can take custody alone
No, go onto my next choice for guardian
Naming the Witnesses
Finally, get the names and addresses of the people who will witness your legal nomination of guardian document. Your two witnesses must be over the age of 18 and not named in the Nomination of Guardian document. (Check your state laws because this varies, I'm in California)
If you don't know who will be available to witness your documents when you are ready to sign them, you can hand write in the names and address of the witnesses when you sign your documents.
Get It in Writing
Note "financial resources" and "financial values" are not included on this principles list. That is because you should provide the financial resources for your children through your own assets or life insurance. If you don't, there is a chance the Guardian will not accept your nomination, they might love your kids but not have the financial resources to raise them. In that case, your kids will be in limbo, possibly foster care, until a Judge finds them a guardian. Also, it's not advisable to make your guardian be responsible for handling the money you leave behind for your kids. That should be handled by a financial guardian, either named in your Will or Trust or who would be appointed by the Court, if you don't have a Will or a Trust.
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