Top 5 Tips To Choose A Guardian For Your Child:

1. Make a decision and don’t procrastinate. This can be an incredibly difficult decision for parents, but it is better to make a decision and change it later than to do nothing at all.  If you don’t make a decision and something happens to you, then a judge makes the decision for you.  In addition to naming your preferred guardian in your legal documents, you want to name at least one alternate as a back-up in the documents in case your first choice isn’t available.  Don’t procrastinate and make sure to work with an estate planning attorney to get the proper legal documents in place.  Do your best and know that you can always change it later.

2. Start with the practicalities like location and stage of life.  Consider the location that your guardian lives in and their ability to include your child or children into their family.  Can the guardian move into your family home? Would your child move into their home?  Do they live in a good school district? Would your child have to relocate to another state?  You also want to consider the person’s age and stage of life.  Sometimes it’s not a good idea to name someone very young starting off in their career or parents or loved ones who are retired and beyond the stage of raising kids.

3. Take values and religion into account.  Does the guardian share the same religion and is that an important factor in raising your child?  What are the values that they will instill in your children relating to money, helping others, work ethic? You can give the guardian a letter with some guidance on what is important to you in raising your child as well as any doctor contact information, allergy information, etc.  All of the information that you as a parent have in your head that the guardian would need.

4. Considering choosing different people.  The guardian you choose can be a different person than the trustee managing the money for your child.  You can choose to name one person to manage the finances and someone else to care for your child.  Sometimes it is better to divide and conquer and name two different individuals for these roles; other times it makes sense to name the same person for both roles.  Administratively, it is easier for the guardian to also control the finances for your child, however, that isn’t always the best person based on their skills and the fact that there are no checks and balances. Either way, it’s critical to do the rest of the estate planning so that your child will be cared for financially as well.

5. Talk to the potential guardian.  Make sure to talk with your preferred guardian to find out if they are up to the task and wiling to serve in that role.  This is a huge decision and it is not just your decision to make.  You need to talk with them to make sure that they can handle the responsibility and share your expectations with them.  And don’t sugarcoat your expectations!  It is better to change the guardian if it isn’t a good fit than to name a guardian that will not be suitable for your child.

Where can families go for more tips and information on guardians for their children and estate planning?

If you want more information and tips or want to schedule a legal consultation with Danielle, you can email her at or message her here.

Danielle Mayoras is a legal expert, author and attorney.  She is the co-author of Trial & Heirs:  Famous Fortune Fights!, a legal media expert, and keynote speaker.  You can find her on Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn.  For all of the latest legal news and helpful legal tips, advice and information, be sure to check out her blog.

DISCLAIMER: Nothing should be relied on as legal advice. The information contained herein does not create an attorney/client relationship. The information posted is intended for general information purposes only. Laws vary state by state. Anyone seeking legal advice for a specific situation should consult a qualified attorney or similar qualified professional in the appropriate state.


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    Danielle Mayoras is an on-camera legal expert, attorney, author, and keynote speaker. As a respected media source, she has lent her expertise and analysis to hundreds of media sources, including The Associated Press, Los Angeles Times, ABC News, The Wall Street Journal, Vanity Fair, People, Forbes, Kiplinger, The Washington Post, Huffington Post, among many others. She has appeared on Access Hollywood, the Rachael Ray Show, The Insider, CNN, CNN International, NBC Nightly News, Forbes, The Hallmark Channel, ABC’s Live Well Network, CBS, FOX, PBS, and NBC affiliates. Danielle also serves as a legal analyst for CBS News Detroit.

    In addition to co-authoring the best-selling book Trial & Heirs: Famous Fortune Fights!, Danielle has been a contributor to Forbes and other outlets. Danielle has also appeared as a TV host and legal expert on multiple celebrity documentaries for the REELZ Channel. When not doing media, Danielle helps clients in her thriving law firm and serves as a keynote speaker delighting audiences across the country.