As you assemble your estate plan, have you selected a guardian to take care of your minor children growing up in Tennessee? Should the worst happen and you pass before fully raising your kids, someone needs to step in to fill your shoes.

U.S. News & World Report explains how guardianship works and how to choose a guardian. Do not wait until it is too late to decide who takes care of your kids.

Types of guardians

There are two types of guardianships: The guardian of the estate handles your minor child’s financial inheritance while the guardian of the person acts as the physical warden. You can choose a single person for both roles or two different people who help balance each other out.

Guardian skills

As for choosing your guardian, this person should be responsible with money and the overall emotional and mental welfare of your children. Someone who has the qualities of a good parent helps too, as this person essentially becomes a parent to your children. That means you should agree with the morals and values of whomever you choose.

Relationship with your children

It is best that your chosen guardian is already close to your children. Imagine a total stranger raising your kids, which can make the adjustment difficult for everyone involved. Physical proximity is something else to bear in mind, as you may not like the idea of your children uprooting their lives and leaving their school and friends to go live with the guardian. Alternatively, your chosen guardian may not like the idea of leaving her or his established life behind to move where your kids are.

This information is only intended to educate and should not be interpreted as legal advice.