One of the most difficult parts of estate planning is choosing someone to take care of your kids once you’re gone. In BC, this is called appointing a guardian.
Most parents name a guardian for their children in their will. When it comes to providing instructions in the will, simpler is usually better, as explained here. Leaving complicated instructions (for example, naming multiple guardians and leaving it to them to decide who takes over) can lead to problems down the road.
Instead, consider having a conversation with each person you’re thinking of appointing. Make sure they consent to acting as guardian for your kids when you pass. After all, it’s a big responsibility and may be more than some people want to take on. Once you’ve discussed it with each of them, pick one person to be the primary guardian. You can also choose one or more alternate guardians. This is someone who will step in if the primary guardian you appointed isn’t able to act.
Two other things to be aware of:
- Your will should create a trust for gifts you leave to any minor children. Otherwise, the minor’s share of the estate may need to be paid to the Public Guardian and Trustee — and they’ll hold onto it for the minor in trust until they turn 19. This is explained here by a lawyer who works for the Public Guardian and Trustee.
- In your will, your trustee will be in charge of overseeing the monetary costs of raising your children, while your guardian will physically be taking care of them.