Decatur Family Law and Probate Attorney

How can we pick the right guardian for our kids?

On Behalf of | Jun 6, 2024 | guardianships

Choosing a guardian for your children is a critical decision for your estate plan, but it requires careful consideration. And, for many parents, they just do not know where to start or how to choose. Here are some best practices for Texas parents to help ensure their kids are in good hands.

Understanding the role of a guardian

A guardian is someone who will take care of your child if you and the other parent pass away or become incapacitated. In Texas, guardian designations are usually done as part of the estate planning process when you have kids under 18 or are caring for a family member that is unable to care for themselves. The guardian will be responsible for your child’s well-being and upbringing.

Consider your child’s experience and family values

Think about your child’s experience and your family’s values when selecting a guardian. Moving to a new city or changing schools can be very stressful for a child, especially after losing their parents. Ideally, choose someone who lives nearby or is willing to relocate, and someone that shares your family values. This will help with the transition and make this very traumatic time less traumatic.

Evaluate potential guardians

Evaluate the potential guardian’s ability to meet your child’s needs. Ensure they have the time, resources and desire to take on this responsibility. Consider the different types of legal guardianships and choose individuals whose skills and attributes align with those roles.

Do not rule out far-flung relatives

While not uprooting their lives is a key consideration, do not dismiss relatives who live far away. Although a move might be disruptive, the best guardian for your child might not be nearby. Consider whether the long-term benefits of the chosen guardian outweigh the initial disruption of a move, especially when that relative is close with your children.

Choosing backup guardians

Always choose a backup guardian too. While your chosen guardian may be willing to act as one now, they may change their mind, or they may simply be unable to be a guardian when the time comes. They may have even pre-deceased you. You can even designate a guardian for a specific period, such as until your child turns 13, and then name another guardian until they turn 18.


Selecting a guardian for your children is a significant decision that demands thorough thought and planning. By following these best practices, you can help ensure your children will be cared for, no matter what the future holds.