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Selecting a guardian for your child

One of the most common things that you and your spouse may want to avoid doing when creating a will is selecting a guardian for your children. But it is also the most important thing you can do. Do you really want a judge who doesn't know your children to be the one to appoint a guardian if something happens to you?

Most people would say no to that question. We know it is a difficult task deciding who would be best to raise your children, so here are some tips:

-- Keep in mind that selecting someone now doesn't mean you can't change the name later. You may not be sure of where one's life is going, so while a person seems suitable now, he or she may not be down the road. Remember, you can change the guardian at a later time if the person becomes unsuitable down the road. It doesn't have to be permanent.

-- The guardian does not have to be a family member. You may have friends who would love and care for your children as well as a grandparent or other family member. Think outside the box.

-- Don't look for the perfect parent. No parents are perfect. Spend some time with a potential guardian along with your children. This helps to give you a feel of how well he or she gets along with your children.

--. If you and your spouse are having trouble deciding together, have each of you write down your top five choices. See if you come up with any common names and then talk them over.

-- Take into consideration where the potential guardian lives and their financial status as well.

When you are planning your estate, don't leave out selecting a guardian for your children because of indecision. Select the best person for now. Don't get so hung up on the who that you fail to select anyone. Remember that you know your children and what you want for them much better than a judge does!

Source: The Wall Street Journal, "The Hard Question Who will take care of your child if you die?," accessed Oct. 09, 2015

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