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One of our big goals this year is getting our finances and other important items taken care of should something unforeseen happens to us.

For us, that means updating our wills, getting our life insurance policy adjusted, and choosing legal guardians for our baby girl.

I will say that coming up with possible candidates and then asking them (and praying they accept) was much harder than I imagined.

It wasn't that we had no one we could think of, instead, it was coming up with someone and then getting up the nerve to ask.

Tips on Choosing a Guardian

If you need a few tips on how to get started on choosing a guardian, here are some tips that I found helpful:

  • Make a list. Go ahead and write down all the people you know who you would trust to take care of your child(ren). Both of you should create a list and then compare notes to see if any names popped up on both lists. Happily, all of the people on our list love our baby girl and vice versa.
  • Talk about what is most important to you. The big discussion between the two of you is defining what you're looking for with your guardian(s):
    • Religious/moral beliefs – Would you like to have your values passed down? To us, this was extremely important. Our child will have to make her own decision as to who she wants to be; we just want her to have a solid foundation and be raised with love.
    • Child-rearing philosophy– Does the guardian have similar ideas when it comes to raising kids? We were looking for those with a generally patient and reasonable disposition. Kids can get on your nerves and we didn't want someone with a short fuse.
    • Personality – Is your child familiar with them and get along with them? Will there be constant clashes or will they be able to work it out? She's a baby so no personality clashes right now;) However, we were looking for fairly balanced personalities that work with our own (she is our baby after all!).
    • Location – Will your child have to move? Will your families be able to visit them or will the distance be a burden? Right now our family is only a car ride away and we'd like them to be able to easily visit her.
    • Health – Will the guardian(s) be physically able to handle the responsibilities? Are they in reasonably good health now?
  • Sleep on it: We mulled over our decision for a few weeks before asking. It's such a huge decision we didn't want to jump the gun.

This is not a comprehensive list, just some things we considered when looking at possible candidates.

We're extremely grateful that our dilemma was whittling the list down. To have a wonderful family and a supportive network of friends is a blessing; that said, it also meant it took some time to make this decision.

We prayed over the matter along with asking and answering many questions about what we wanted for our baby girl.

We're extremely happy with who we picked and we were even more elated that they accepted (whew!).

Should they have not, we would've not had any hard feelings – being a guardian is a big responsibility.

We didn't want them to feel pressured into saying yes.

By the way, we're not experts, so please talk this over as a couple.

Depending on how detailed you want to go, consulting a legal professional to make sure you get the proper documents created.

Next Steps – Life Insurance

We're far from over with this project, but for me, the hardest part is over.

We now have to get the paperwork done and call our life insurance agent today.

I've also requested some quotes from other insurance companies to see if we can find the best value.

I'd love to get your feedback on ideas on how much life insurance is reasonable.

We're running the numbers and seeing what we're comfortable with and I'd like to see if we've missed anything.

Thoughts on Choosing a Guardian

How many of you parents have already chosen a legal guardian for your child(ren)?

How was the process for you? How did you ask the potential candidate? Did they accept?

About Elle Martinez

Elle Martinez helps families at Couple Money achieve financial freedom by sharing tips for reducing debt, increase income, and building net worth. Learn how to live on one income and have fun with the second..

13 comments add your comment

  1. This is something we haven’t really thought about (or at least talked about). I probably don’t want the actual people who were chosen as godparents to be actual parents, so we should probably put in writing.

  2. Talk about pressure! Looks like you’ve done a good job thinking it through.

    • This is a harder process than we thought. It’s a mix of left and right brain analysis. Hopefully we will not have to use this plan. We’re going to do our best to stay alive! 😀

  3. We just went through this as well, Elle. We also wanted to take financial stability and personal capacity/readiness to be our son’s guardian into account. We, like yourself, are so happy our 1st choice agreed with a resounding: 100% Yes (but added we’re not allowed to die b/c the world would be a worse place – these friends ROCK!)

  4. As someone who drafts these documents for friends and family (and clients that are strangers) please just keep in mind the feelings of those who were 3rd, 4th and 6th choice…I watched a family come to a screaming match when one side found out about the other being chosen as Guardian.

    • Thanks Evan for sharing that perspective – guardianship is a tough and emotional decision for many people. I was discussing this with family this weekend – not an easy conversation. That’s why I felt I wanted to talk it now – I think finding out later would be worse. (Then again for some it may be best)

      We’re trying to do what we feel is best for our baby, have our family’s feelings respected, and come up with a plan that honors our wishes.