Who should be your child’s GUARDIAN?

by Claire Minnaar

My kids are growing older and watching them grow is totally amazing. While they grow old, I unfortunately also grow older and the reality that one day, some day – I will leave this planet and leave them behind can be a heart-wrenching thought.

My Admission:

I have NO…and I mean…NO…not a single..no uno..freaking…GUARDIAN for my children.

I probably shouldn’t admit this for the whole world to see, but I have – if I get judged by it, well then – it’s really TOUGH titties to those judges out there.

Why don’t you have a guardian, Momtrepreneur???

Well, who REALLY is good enough to look after anyone’s kids, right?

My biggest fear about a guardian is that my child will lose out and won’t be treated like they would be treated by their own parents which is almost a definite – it’s not the potential guardian’s fault, but the reality of the situation. It possibly will work out that way, but to avoid that, one really has to think long and hard about who would be suitable and will provide the meet the top list of attributes required for a guardian and sacrifice in areas that perhaps are just less important.

So many considerations need to be done before choosing your guardian, so to help you, I’ve done some research and put some of these considerations together to help any of you others out there in the same boat.

  1. Not everyone WANTS your children: You’ve made the decision and that John and Jelly Fabulous down the road are the perfect guardians, BUT…..they may WANT to be the guardian of YOUR children (Oh my word – who wouldn’t want to look after my fabulous children?!)…deal with it – it’s a SERIOUS possibility.
  2. Not everyone can afford to take on your children: if you really want someone to be a guardian, consider taking out some policies that in the event that you do die before they are 18, they CAN support your children.
  3. Make a list of what is important to you from a guardian. Once you have the list, re-order them in the order of importance so you know what are the most important attributes / aspects you want to consider for the potential guardian.
  4. Make sure to consider these top pointers:
    • Can this person afford your child? If not, can YOU afford to put some things in place so they can afford it in the event you pass away?
    • Does the person share the same beliefs, morals and ethics as you and your family e.g. I’m a Christian Mamma – how would I feel about my Jewish/Muslim/Agnostic friends looking after my child?
    • Does your child know this person well enough and / or do they have some form of a bond with the person?
    • Is this person willing to take on this responsibility?
  5. Keep in mind that the choice you make today could change tomorrow. People change, people move, people die, relationships changes and circumstances change, so you should make sure to have reminders in place to review your guardian choices every year. For example, if Granny is to be the guardian and she dies before you pass away and she is specified as guardian, a social worker will need to get involved and well, that can be even more traumatising for the child(ren) in the end.
  6. Have a backup. If you have made your best friend a guardian of your kids and you are all travelling together and have a fatal accident – what then? Make sure to have someone else just in case.
  7. Consider where the potential guardian lives opposed to the rest of the family. My brother lives in the States. If I made him guardian of my kids, my kids would have to get shipped over to the States to someone they hardly know because we don’t see him very often and they wouldn’t get to see their Dad’s side of the family or other aunties and uncles that live here in South Africa.
  8. Consider other children in the house. If your chosen guardian has kids, consider how this would impact your child. Would there be enough attention for your child? Would your child just become a number?

This is not an easy thing to do. Do this on a good day when you have a clear head. Speak very openly to the people you want to consider and get their concerns and understand them fully.

Wishing you..and me luck on this one!

Image Credit: Legalwill.com.au

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1 comment

Sarah October 19, 2012 - 7:36 pm

We are struggling with choosing guardians as well. So true that circumstances change. If I was asked to be a guardian I would have to think very carefully before agreeing. Now I need to ask someone to be a guardian and it really is a big ask! Thanks for the advice – good points to consider.


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