NB: This post is part of a series discussing factors you should consider when selecting a guardian for your minor children. You can read all these posts here.
Raising children is expensive. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (.pdf), the estimated cost of raising a child born in 2008 from birth to age 17 is approximately $210,000 at the lowest family income levels, and about twice that at the highest family income levels.
With additional children come additional costs associated with housing, food, shelter, clothing, child care, and college. And although a guardian is typically entitled to be reimbursed from the minor’s estate, the assets you leave behind may be insufficient to cover all the costs involved.
Financial stability is important
You should not expect a guardian to bear the financial burdens of raising your children. But it is fair to consider his or her financial stability.
If you select a guardian who is having financial problems, the burdens of raising additional children may be overwhelming, regardless of the resources you leave. Additionally, financial problems can lead to further instability and stresses to which you may not want your children exposed.
Providing financially for your children is your responsibility
Although you should consider your prospective guardian’s financial stability, it is ultimately your responsibility to provide the financial means necessary to support your children in the event the unthinkable happens.
To determine whether your assets will be sufficient, start by considering the following:
- What are the costs of your children’s living expenses, hobbies, and future schooling?
- Do any of your children have chronic medical conditions that would require additional resources?
- Would your prospective guardian be required to move into a larger house or build a addition to an existing house to accommodate your children?
If your current assets would not be sufficient to financially enable the guardian to care for your children, an obvious remedy would be to increase your life insurance policy to whatever levels you believe necessary.
The financial burdens of raising children are great. And failing to provide the financial resources necessary to care from them could breed resentment, regardless of your prospective guardian’s financial position.