The unfortunate reality that you will no longer be able to care for your special needs child can be scary for parents. Having a plan of care in place and designating a guardian can reduce stress about your child’s future. But how can parents ensure they are choosing the right guardian for their child? Below are some tips for picking the perfect guardian.
Start by brainstorming and making a list of all potential guardians. Don’t worry about the length of the list-it will cut down over time. Just write down any names that come to mind without overthinking it. At the beginning stages it is important to keep your options open and consider various possibilities.
Once you have your initial list, go through it to eliminate anyone who does not feel like the right fit for whatever reason. Here are some questions to ask yourself when determining if someone is the right fit:
- Is this person financially capable of caring for my child?
- Is this person physically capable of caring for my child?
- Does this person have an understanding of my child’s needs?
- How do my child and this person interact?
- Does this person have other children and will this affect his or her ability to care for my child?
This first examination of your list will likely help you to significantly narrow down your options.
Now that you have your short list, it is a good idea to step away for a day or two. You want to look at your short list with a clear mind. The process of selecting a guardian can be overwhelming, and you want to give yourself time to ensure you are making the best decision. This being said, it is important to continue planning and not let the stress of the decision prevent you from making it.
After reexamining your list and narrowing it down to a few names, it is time to talk to these people about their willingness to serve as your child’s guardian. Sit down with them one on one and have an open dialogue where they can feel comfortable communicating their questions or concerns. Some candidates may not be interested. You may decide that some candidates are not the optimal choice after speaking in person. Whatever the case, these in-person discussions will help to narrow down your list. For the options that remain, make sure to give them time to really think about the decision before confirming that they will take on the role of guardian.
Finally, it is time to make your decision. Meet with your attorney to get the proper documents in place. Remember that you can always change your decision, so there is no need to stress about putting it in writing. The most important thing is to make sure that you have a plan.