How to Choose a Guardian for Your Child in Your Will


A will can serve many different purposes aside from determining how a person’s assets should be distributed after their death. If you and your spouse have a minor child(ren), you both must name a guardian for your child in your will.

Without a will to name guardians, the court would decide who would take care of minor children if both parents passed away. Our Madison estate planning attorneys explain how to choose a guardian for your child(ren) in your will.

If you need guidance drafting a will, contact our Madison estate planning attorneys today at (608) 292-5185 to schedule a consultation!

Child Guardianship

Choosing a guardian in a will provides minor children a safety net in the unthinkable event that both parents pass away simultaneously. If only one of the parents passes away, the custody remains with the surviving parent.

In most cases, parents choose to keep siblings together by naming a guardian or co-guardians; this prevents the court from separating them or choosing an unfit guardian. Parents also like to choose more than one guardian if one is unable to take on the responsibility.

Below we have put together some tips parents should consider before choosing a guardian for their children:

  • You should pick a guardian who is emotionally, physically, and financially capable of caring for your children.
  • You should ask yourself if the person you are choosing is dependable and if they have enough energy to devote to your children.
  • You should ask yourself if the person has the same beliefs or values as your own.
  • If the person you want to choose as a guardian already has children, you should ask yourself if they would be capable of (and comfortable with) handling all the children or if they would all get along.

Ask the Individual Before Putting Them in Your Will

Once you and your spouse have identified who would be the right person or people to look after your children in case both parents pass away, you should approach them with this request. You should be open with your decision and explain why you believe they would be a good choice. Parents often like to leave a written letter that outlines any information or requests about their upbringing.

If you need legal guidance creating a will, contact our Madison estate planning lawyers today at (608) 292-5185 to schedule a consultation!

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