As you prepare your estate plan, protecting your children is probably going to be at the top of your priority list. Every child deserves to be loved and cared for. Appointing a guardian is important in case you aren’t able to provide that.

When your child has special needs, choosing a guardian can be particularly difficult. As you make your decision, consider these tips to help you:

Make a list and start cutting it down

You may have already done so, but the first step to choosing a guardian for your child is to write down everyone you are considering. Remember that no one will be able to replace you, but there are ways to cut down your list. Give yourself a few minutes to start marking people off that wouldn’t be one of your top choices. Get yourself to a short list before you start really delving into each candidate.

Sit down with your top choices

It’s important to talk directly with the people you are considering. Ask them about their willingness and availability. You should be looking for someone who genuinely would want to care for you child, not someone who feels pressured into saying yes. Don’t ask for immediate responses, but instead just begin the conversation.

Encourage honesty

It’s a good idea to think about your daily routines with your child. Pinpoint some challenges that come with caring for someone with special needs and things your potential guardian needs to consider before they agree. Providing honesty to your potential guardian is essential to making a good decision and creating a smooth transition for your child if the event arises. Here are some questions you may want to ask your potential choices:

  • Are they in a physical and financial space to take care of your child?
  • Will they be able to adjust to caring for a child with special needs? Do they have experience interacting with people with special needs?
  • How do they interact with your child?
  • Do they have the time and space in their lives for a child?
  • Do they already have children? If so, how will that affect caring for your child?
  • Do they share your values?
  • Is there a backup in case situations change and they cannot be your child’s guardian?

Choosing a guardian for your child is overwhelming and emotional. Still, it’s a necessary step to ensuring that your child is taken care of and loved no matter what.