Who Would Get the Kids?

Everything you need to know about choosing guardians for your children

In any classroom of 25 kids, only 4 have a legal arrangement outlining who will care for them should both of their parents die. That leaves 21 children vulnerable to feuding relatives, the social service system, and the courts, should they become orphans. Are your kids among them? Mine were.

As parents, we're careful about screening babysitters, providing good medical care for our children, and considering the content of their entertainment. In every way we are eager to protect our kids. However, until an unexpected death in my neighborhood—a dad in his early 30s—I hadn't given much thought to making a will and checking it twice. This man's death motivated my husband and me to get our legal situation in order to make sure our children would be cared for emotionally, financially, and spiritually should something happen to us.

While making a will was pretty straightforward, I was surprised at how difficult it was to choose a guardian for our children. But the more we worked through the question of who would raise our children, the more convinced I became that choosing a guardian is a decision no parent should put off. As you choose a guardian for your children, make sure to consider these crucial guidelines:

Put Faith First

Parents frequently focus on who would be a good money manager for the assets left to minor children, but this is a mistake. The management of the assets can be left to a professional money manager or institutional trustee. The most important role of a guardian is to serve as a "substitute parent." For Christian parents, then, the primary consideration in choosing guardians will be whether the person will help your children know and love the Lord. Proverbs 22:6 says, "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." Will your potential guardians do that?

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May 25

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