Naming Godparents Does Not Create Legal Guardians
As a parent, your top priority is the well-being and future of your children. You plan for their education, health, and happiness, and often this planning includes the tradition of choosing godparents to guide and mentor your children if something happens to you. While selecting godparents is a meaningful tradition in many cultures, it’s important to understand that naming a godparent is not the same thing as naming a legal guardian for your children. In this newsletter, we’ll explain the roles of a godparent and legal guardian and how to ensure your kids are always cared for by the people you choose – no matter what.
A godparent is traditionally someone you name to watch over your child and help them live according to your morals and values. Godparents are meant to be mentors and role models, guiding your child in matters of faith, morality, and character.
In contrast, naming a legal guardian for your child is a formal, legal process. A legal guardian is someone who has the legal authority to make decisions on behalf of your child, especially if you, as the parent, are unable to do so.
Why Naming Godparents Isn’t Enough
While godparents may be deeply caring and involved in your child’s life, they have no legal authority to make decisions for your child unless they are officially appointed as a legal guardian by the court. If needed, your child’s godparents are not legally able to make any decisions for your children, including their basic care needs, education, and medical care. If you become incapacitated or die, and have not legally nominated a guardian, there could be a complex and expensive custody dispute among family who wish to be their guardians. Without a legal guardian designation in writing and signed with the formalities of a Will, godparents may find themselves in an expensive court battle over custody rights, and they may not even be named as the legal guardians of your children at all.
Life-long Legal Protection for Kids
Consider combining the roles of godparents and legal guardians into one. If you’ve already chosen people you trust to serve as lifelong role models and spiritual guardians for your children as their godparents, why not give those people the legal authority to truly perform those duties if something happens to you? If you aren’t sure who the best guardian or godparent is for your children, we can help. We’ll walk you through a heart-centered process for choosing guardians who genuinely care for your child’s well-being and share your values. Plus, we’ll ensure they have the financial and legal tools needed to give your child the best life possible if you can’t be there.
To schedule your Life and Legacy Planning Session, please call (714) 997-7870, or click here to contact CKLH by email.