You’ve just booked a trip to Aruba to celebrate your 10th wedding anniversary. It is the first time you and your partner will have been away together without the kids in years.

However, what happens if you never return? Chances are you will, but an accident can occur when you least expect it. It is a horrible thing to have to consider, but, as responsible parents, you need to plan for any eventuality.

The legal term for who will take care of your kids is guardianship, and there are two types you need to consider:

  • Guardianship of the person: While whoever you choose can never replace you as parents, that is, in effect, the role they will fulfill.

 

  • Guardianship of the estate: If your kids are legally children, someone needs to administer the money and property you leave behind, on their behalf.

 

You do not need to choose the same person for both. Financial skills and child-raising skills are very different. Some people are great at both. Some people are great at one and awful at the other.

Choosing someone to be a guardian to your children is a two-way process. You choose them, and they choose to accept the responsibility. You need to discuss it with your partner and with the potential guardian while you are still alive.

It is easy to assume you will always be there for your kids. That is fine until the day it is too late. Then what happens to your children will be out of your hands — unless, of course, you sat down with an attorney and got your wishes written up legally.