One of the most difficult decisions that parents have to make in this life is who would step in their shoes and take care of their children if they were to pass away. Since this is such a difficult decision, parents often tend to put it off which is the worst thing they can do. This leaves the decision to be made by the courts if it has not already been outlined in an estate planning document.

Read on for some helpful tips of what to consider when you are deciding who to name as guardian.

Values are Important

For many parents, instilling the right values and morals in their children is one of their most important jobs. Finding guardians who will have similar values as you is perhaps the most important factor in choosing guardians. Consider the following when choosing a guardian: religious beliefs, social values, educational priorities, and overall child-rearing philosophies.

Consider Finances But Know They Aren’t Top Priority

Financial concerns are one of the first things that most people consider while naming a guardian, but don’t make this the deciding factor. Yes, children are expensive! Part of your planning process should address life insurance needs to ensure that your guardians are equipped to care for your children so their financial standing should not be as much of a concern. It is important that you can trust the guardian to properly care for the funds that you leave to support your kids however their own wealth (or lack thereof) is less critical. Also, know that when you create an estate plan there are ways to set rules and boundaries for the children’s funds to ensure they are cared for.

Consider All Options

Many people choose a blood relative such as a parent or sibling, but this may not always be the best person for you. They may seem like the obvious choice, but they may not be the best person to raise your children. Consider their age and location. Often times it may be a friend that shares your values, parenting philosophy, and is local in efforts to keep the children in the area where they currently reside. Examine all options prior to making this decision instead of going with who may seem like the obvious choice.

Love is All That Matters

It may sound overly simplistic, but the bottom line is your children will need love more than anything else. Losing their parents is without a doubt the hardest thing they will endure, and they need to be loved and cared for during this impossibly difficult time in their life. Consider who will be able to best love them through it time and guide them into a stable future.