If you have minor children, your estate plan will need to include appointing a guardian to take care of them should something happen to you. You and your spouse might have several relatives from whom to choose. Ultimately, you have to make the decision that makes the most sense for you and for your children’s future well-being.
Unfortunately, a family member who is not chosen might feel hurt, particularly if the decision was due to differences in religious beliefs, financial instability in their lives, or other challenges they might have, such as a history of drug or alcohol abuse.
Be firm, but kind.
Your confidence in your decision will affect the tone of the conversation. Don’t deviate from your agreed-upon plan even if the conversation turns emotional, but emphasize that your loved one is valued and important in your life and in the lives of your children.
Put a spin on it.
You might choose to highlight the strengths of your chosen guardian and their willingness and ability to raise your children, rather than detailing the reasons for not choosing the person to whom you are speaking. Doing so can allow you to set aside personal tensions during this discussion, keeping the conversation positive rather than allowing an argument erupt.
Remember: this will probably never happen.
It is highly unlikely that both parents will die before their children have reached adulthood. As a parent, you need to prepare for all scenarios, however, and naming a guardian for your children fulfills your responsibility to protect them should the worst happen.
Reminding the person whom you did not choose of this fact might help them understand your decision. In the meantime, they can continue to make memories with your children – and you.