Guardianship for Your Children

You can appoint a guardian for your children as a portion of your will. It’s ideal to list a sole guardian and an optional guardian should the initial guardian cannot or declines to serve.

Many parents decide to appoint married couples as guardians for their children. Even though you have every right to name co-guardians, two guardians might disagree or even get divorced. Consequently, when you decide to appoint two guardians you need to list each guardian individually, so that they each have the capability to make decisions legally on behalf of your child.

Who do I Chose as a Guardian for my Children?

Choosing a guardian for children is a very personal decision. Parents usually choose guardians that have a similar parenting style to your own and who share the same moral standards. Your chosen guardian might be an extended family member or a trustworthy friend. There are no requirements that a guardian has be married or have children of their own. A matter of fact, you should consider a possible guardian’s own family obligations and determine whether that person has the time and resources for caring for your child. Some other aspects you might consider when choosing a potential guardian include their:

  • age (required to be 18)
  • physical and mental health
  • responsibilities for other children
  • spiritual background and principles
  • work and community obligations, and
  • financial assets.

If you’re not sure, you should ask any potential guardians how they would feel about raising your children should you pass away. Their answers could make your decision simpler.

If you have children from previous relationships, you may want to appoint an individual guardian for each child. Particularly, a child from your first marriage might have no relationship with your present father-in-law, even though your other children share a strong one with him. It’s important to take into account the child’s relationships and ties family when naming a guardian.

Even when children have the same parents, children with larger age gaps might be ideally suited to different guardians. For instance, you may want your mother to serve as guardian for your fifteen-year-old daughter since they share a solid bond. On the other hand, your aging mother may be unsuitable to serve as guardian for your newborn. Your family’s unique circumstances are going to impact your decision about the amount and which guardians you decide on for serving in your case.

Am I Able to Name a Separate Guardian to Oversee My Children’s Estate?

Absolutely, you can name a guardian for caring for your children’s daily needs and a separate individual to oversee your children’s financial estate. Choosing one individual for both responsibilities can make sense. But occasionally it’s actually a good idea to entrust a separate person to oversee your children’s inheritance, specifically if you have a substantial financial estate. A secondary guardian can guarantee that the children’s primary guardian is expending money sensibly and can safeguard the children’s inheritance.

For instance, you might have chosen your best friend as guardian for your children because of his code of ethics, good humor, and exceptional parenting style. However, your best friend might be horrible with money. In such a case, you could name a separate guardian to serve as the trustee of your children’s estate to manage finances and expenses that your best friend makes on behalf of your children. A guardian overseeing the estate could also govern careless spending, if any, by your children’s primary guardian.

What If I Don’t Want My Ex Raising My Children Upon My Passing?

Even though a parent’s rights to name a guardian are wide ranging, a parent can’t name a guardian that meddles with the other parent’s rights to custody. This matter comes up often in divorce cases. After your passing, a judge is going to award custody to the other parent, unless that parent’s rights were terminated, or the parent is found to be unfit.

When you have considerable concerns about your ex’s capability of caring for your children, you can write a letter detailing your concerns and make it a part of your will.


  1. Kristina Otterstrom, A. (2019, May 3). Guardianship for your children. Retrieved August 30, 2022, from

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Our child custody and guardianship attorney in Phoenix and Scottsdale will advance your case with concern and personal attention and always have you and your children’s best interest in mind when offering legal solutions.

An experienced family law attorney will work with you to obtain the best possible outcome in your situation. We advocate for our clients, so they have the brightest future possible. Give us a call today at 480-999-0800 for a free consultation.


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