Terminology: Trustee vs. Guardian
Once you become a parent, you get the feeling that you should have things set in place for your child --should anything unexpected happen to you.
Beyond that feeling or concept, things can get murky pretty fast.
Underneath the complicated legal language are some fairly straightforward concepts.
Here are the two primary ways parents secure their children's future:
1. Select a Guardian: Your child's Guardian is the person who becomes legally responsible for your child and makes the parenting decisions for your child on a day-to-day basis.
2. Pick a Trustee: Your child's Trustee will manage the assets you leave for your child until your child is old enough to manage those assets without help from an adult.
Essentially, these are roles you play for your child everyday as their parent!
But Wills break out the two roles and allow you to name two different people to play the two different roles.
For some families, the Guardian and the Trustee may be the same person. In other instances, there is good reason to break up the Guardian and Trustee roles.
Few of us have perfect families, and we rarely choose friends based on their fitness to act as future Trustee for our children. Using the options and information available to you, it's possible to make solid decisions on behalf of your child or children.
When you make these decisions in advance, you set up the Guardian and Trustee to jump into action if needed --rather than going through weeks of uncertainty and possible disagreements as family sorts through what to do in your absence.