How should you choose a guardian for your special needs child?

No parent wants to think about choosing someone else to care for their children. However, if you have a special needs child, it may be likely that your child will outlive you and still require guardianship or care throughout adulthood.

Within your estate plan, you need to appoint a guardian.

Choose someone who shares your values

If you do not choose a guardian, then the choice becomes the court’s decision. You cannot guarantee that the court will choose someone who shares your values as a parent and will care for your child concerning your wishes.

Ensure the person can care for your child

A guardian has to be able to care for your child properly. Look for someone who has caretaking abilities and can handle your child’s specific situation. For example, if your child requires 24-7 care, ensure that the guardian has time to spend with the child. Have a conversation with your choice before you name him or her in your estate plan. You do not want to surprise someone even if you think he or she would be a willing guardian.

Revisit your choice regularly

Once you choose and name a guardian, you cannot leave it at that. Revisit your decision regularly to ensure that it still makes sense. Life can change quickly for people. Your choice may have more children or develop an illness that makes it difficult to care for your child. In addition to revisiting your choice, make sure you have a backup.

When making your choice, ensure the guardian understands what you are asking of them.



FindLaw Network