When you think of guardians for your children, you probably think about specific people in your life. Sometimes it’s helpful to start with a different approach. Consider the qualities of a good guardian and then identify individuals with matching attributes. Here are a few that you might consider.
1 – Patience
Every parent knows that children will test your patience. It’s tough enough with your own children,.. it can be more challenging with others. Add to that the trauma of losing parents, and your children will need as much patience and understanding as possible. Someone who is generally patient is likely to apply that to interactions with your children.
2 – Empathy & Kindness
Empathy and kindness go hand-in-hand. Your children will benefit from a guardian who can empathize with their experience and offer kindness during the most difficult of times. Sometimes we mistakenly focus only on whether someone can physically care for our children and not whether they will be kind to them. Emotional well-being is just as important as physical well-being.
3 – Core Values and Beliefs
What are your core values and beliefs? Is it important to you that a guardian share those views? It’s difficult to find people who share in every value we hold, but some will be more important than others. List which are essential versus “nice to have.”
4 – Financial Stability
Financial stability is among the most important qualities of a good guardian. Someone who already struggles with money might have difficulty with the added burden of caring for your children. Additionally, if a guardian receives assets on behalf of your children, how well might he/she manage those funds? Their own financial well-being is probably the best indicator.
5 – Parenting Style
Parenting is something you learn from experience, yet every parent is also different. For potential guardians who are already parents, you have insight into their parenting style. For those without children, you’ll need to infer that from interactions they have with your children and other children they’ve interacted with. Regardless of how you make the assessment, understanding parenting style and how that compares to your own can help.
More Qualities of a Good Parent
These are just a few examples of qualities of a good guardian for children. Start with this list and add to it. What personal characteristics are important to you? What might be beneficial for your children? If you prepare this list first, your selection of a guardian may be more straight-forward. Guardianship is never an easy decision, but these factors to help guide you through it. Be sure to also read our article on considerations when selecting guardians for children.
Contact our team to prepare your estate plan. Special provisions can be added for guardianship and financial support. Remember that you can also change your mind at any time and change guardianship selection. Our Massachusetts estate planning team can assist with that as well.