How to name guardians for your kids

How to name guardians for your kids

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A huge percentage of parents who haven’t done their estate planning yet are stuck on who to name as guardians for their kids. Here in Portland, Oregon, so many people have moved here from other places, and so they might not have any family in town, and they might have moved here to get away from a family or cultural dynamic that they don’t want their kids to be a part of. This makes choosing guardians difficult.

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I like to start by telling parents how the guardianship process works when you haven’t named guardians. The guardian would have to petition the court to ask to be appointed as guardian. Sometimes this works out just fine, but it can be a problem if the wrong people would apply to be guardians, especially if multiple people apply and have to fight with one another over who is the best choice. The judge will choose the person who it would be in the ‘best interests of the child’ to stay with. This can be very subjective, based on the judge’s personal opinions and may not be in line with what you would have chosen.

Once my clients understand the process, I try to get them to name any people they wouldn’t want to be guardians. From there, we come up with a few names they’d rather have than the people they know they don’t want. After they have a few choices to work with, ranking them is a personal choice based on many factors: location, religious values, parenting style, needs of the kids. Sometimes the best thing to do is just get out a pen and paper and make a good old fashioned pros and cons list for each choice.

Once you’ve ranked your guardian choices, you must legally document your choice. It’s always best to work with lawyer, but we also offer a Guardian Plan kit, which you will find the link to below.

If you want to get started on your estate plan, read about our estate planning services and schedule an appointment.

To your family's health + happiness.

~Candice N. Aiston

P.S. Want to get started slowly but surely, naming guardians for your kids? Check out our Guardian Plan kit.


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Candice N. Aiston is an Legal Planning Attorney for Estates + Businesses in the Portland, Oregon area. She helps people to prepare for a lifetime of security, prosperity, and guidance. If you would like to receive her free reports, please visit to sign up. Follow her Facebook page for daily planning tips:

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