Parents are often worried about who will care for their children if they unexpectedly pass away. It is generally the parents’ responsibility make that difficult decision. Abdicating that responsibility and delegating it to a court is unadvisable, as no court can have the same insight as you do when it comes to your family.

If you would like to ensure that your intentions for your children are faithfully executed, you can appoint a guardian in your last will and testament. Carefully drafting detailed instructions in your will is a specialty of attorneys experienced with estate planning.

Who is eligible to be a guardian?

In Tennessee, your guardian must be at least 18 years of age and be physically and emotionally fit to care for a child. Generally, parents should decide on a guardian that is stable and trustworthy enough to raise their child in the way they would want the child to be raised. Ideally, the guardian you choose will have similar moral and religious beliefs as you, have a stable living environment ideal for the child, and be someone the child is already comfortable with.

Make sure your will is valid

Specifying a guardian and even a substitute guardian, in the event your initial guardian is unable to care for the child, can give you peace of mind and give your family a sense of security. To make sure your kids are cared for by the guardian you have appointed in your will, it is important that your will is valid under Tenn. Code Sec. 32-1-10. An attorney in your area can help draft your will and ensure that all the necessary criteria is met.