Should grandparents be listed as guardians?

On Behalf of | May 21, 2024 | Estate Planning |

An important part of estate planning is choosing a guardian. For instance, couples sometimes have their first child and then start to take estate planning much more seriously. They know that they need to create a plan now that there’s another generation to consider.

If someone passes away unexpectedly, the guardian takes over and raises their children. For this reason, many parents will in turn select their own parents – who are the child’s grandparents. Is this a wise decision when setting up your estate plan?

Older parents may not be the best choice

Grandparents certainly do love their grandchildren and may be willing to take on such a role. But they may not be the optimal choice, depending on their age. 

Someone who is named as the guardian for a newborn has that obligation for the next 18 years. If that person is already in their mid-60s as a grandparent, are they realistically going to be able to raise another child until they’re in their late 70s? On top of age itself, you also want to consider any mental or physical limitations.

Naming a backup 

One option that people sometimes use is to name their parents as the primary guardians and then to name a younger person as a backup. If possible, they would like the grandparents to raise the child. But if those grandparents are too old or in poor health and can’t do so, then the backup can step in and assist.

Estate planning is quite important and can be complicated. Those going through the process need to carefully consider all of their legal options.