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The importance of naming the right person as guardian of your child

For many parents, having children is the initial motivation for creating a will and later a comprehensive estate plan. After all, once you've opened your heart and your family to a new child, you want to know that he or she will always receive the care and protection needed to thrive. That includes the possible situation in which you are not able to care directly for your child anymore. Putting off making a will could leave your children in a precarious position.

Creating a last will and testament allows you to choose one or more people to act as guardians of your minor children. Depending on your circumstances, the person you choose could end up caring for your dependents for many years to come. That's why it is so important to name the right individual as guardian.

In bad situations, guardianship opens the doorway to financial abuse.

There's no easy way to say it, but those who accept legal responsibility for children sometimes do so because of financial incentives. If your family has substantial assets, the value of your estate could motivate someone to make decisions that cost your children. Squandering assets, living beyond the means of the estate, and withholding necessities from the children in their care are all possibilities if the right person is not chosen as guardian.

Texas has specific requirements for guardianship of minors.

Texas is a little more strict than some other states when it comes to appointing guardianship of minors. The court must appoint or approve of the guardian. You want to select someone whom you trust to care for your children physically, emotionally, socially and financially. A guardian should be able to demonstrate social and financial stability to the courts and have little or no criminal record.

You should know that the courts aren't the only ones who can have a say in the guardian assigned to your children. Once the children in question reach the age of 12, they will also have a say in the eyes of the courts as to who becomes guardian. While the courts will definitely weigh the wishes you outline in your will, the person you name must still complete the process of being approved by the courts to legally assume the role.

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