Time to choose a legal guardian? Read this first

When Georgia parents take on the solemn task of choosing adults to step in and become legally responsible for their children should they themselves die or become incapacitated, they often choose close family members to fulfill the role. However, choosing a legal guardian is a serious matter that parents should only make after considering various factors, including whom they believe would act in their children's best interests at all times. While it's easy and perhaps natural to want to choose relatives, the truth is, it might not always be the best decision.  

One woman wrote about choosing her own parents, but explained that instead of choosing her brother as a back-up guardian (which her mother assumed she would do) she chose her husband's sister. She told her mother that she and her husband gave the matter much consideration and believed they had made the best choice, namely because the woman's brother was not married and had next to no experience with children. These types of factors may require careful consideration.

When choosing a legal guardian, it is best to keep several things in mind. Firstly, the person so-named need not be a biological relative of the child. In addition, if a married couple is being chosen, it might be a good idea to only include one person's name in the will, just in case the marriage does not last.  

Remember that a legal guardian choice should be written in a will and signed before appropriate witnesses according to Georgia law. Before doing so, it is best to let the person or people being designated know, so an opportunity to decline is provided. A long-term care planning attorney can answer any questions a concerned parent may have about the legal guardian process.  

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