Thoughts lead on to purposes; purposes go forth in action; actions form habits; habits decide character; and character fixes our destiny.
– Tyron Edwards

Collin County Parents,

Wow, I just got back from a conference in LA, and I think I’m still on California time!  I was there just long enough to get used to the 2 hour time difference and weather (low, low 70s?! and clear), and I’m still dragging a little bit.  One thing I learned had nothing to do with the conference (although I learned a TON about how I can be a better lawyer and I can’t wait to implement it). That is, never, and I mean NEVER, wear leather shoes for the first time when you are going to be dashing through an airport.  The back of your ankles will thank you (and mine still haven’t quite forgiven me).  There, there’s my travel PSA for the month.  You’re welcome.  ??

Well, there is a LOT of political clamor these days about health care and government spending, and it’s about time I weighed in as YOUR family’s personal legal guide. I’m taking a bit of a risk here, as a personal lawyer, but I know these items are in many thoughts…and I’m hoping to bring some sanity to the fray.

Here’s my main point–we all need to calm down and stop talking (or screaming) past each other.

Our American family is more polarized than ever. But we are still a family. Siblings can drive us crazy. They tap repeatedly on the annoy button. Their rhetoric runs hyperbolic. But for many people, it has gotten to the point that everything is maddening.

Our only civil war was inevitable, as Shelby Foote said in Ken Burns’ classic film, because we failed to do what we Americans do best: compromise. “We like to think of ourselves as uncompromising people,” he said, “but our genius is for compromise, and when that broke down, we started killing each other.”

Let’s be grateful that we are still just yelling at each other. Or perhaps yelling past each other. The two very different views take the opposite sides of nearly everything debatable. If you are quick to assume the other side is ignorant or selfish, you will never understand enough to make peace. You are part of the problem.

Compromise is not capitulation. It need not be more costly than either alternative. Every act of the free market is a compromise. And it’s my view that public policy ought to wait for a consensus. We must understand the two views well enough to safeguard the core beliefs of each side.

Now, I’m switching gears to revert to our bread and butter around here, and to address a common question we receive about planning for the future of your family: who should I nominate as my family’s guardian?

Aaron Miller’s
“Straight Talk” Personal Strategy
Picking a Guardian For Your Family

Since this is a subject which often comes up in our offices, I thought I’d put some of our best answers on the subject together for your reference. These are the most important considerations for your selections….

1. Consider values and philosophies. Ask yourself which people on your list most closely share your values and philosophies with respect to your (a) religious beliefs; (b) moral values; (c) child-rearing philosophy; (d) educational values; and (e) social values

2. Take age into account. If they’re older, do they have the necessary health and stamina? If they are younger, are they mature enough?

3. Don’t concern yourself too much with finances or the size of someone’s house. It’s not a good idea to eliminate anyone from consideration because *you* don’t think they have the financial wherewithal to take care of your children. You can often take care of the finances with what you leave or by having adequate life insurance. You can even instruct your trustee to provide funds for your chosen guardian to build an addition to their home or move to a larger home to accommodate your children.

4. Focus on love. Consider whether each couple or person on your list would truly love your children if appointed their guardian. If they have children of their own, will your children be second fiddles? Or is the couple sufficiently loving that they will make your children feel loved no matter what?

5. It doesn’t have to be the “perfect” choice. Most likely, no one on your list will seem perfect – they’re just not YOU, after all. But if you truly consider what matters to you most, you will probably be able to make some reasonable choices. In the end, trust your instincts. If one couple or person meets all of your criteria, but doesn’t feel right, don’t choose them. At the same time, if someone feels much more right than any of the others on your list, there’s a good reason for it. Make your primary choice–then select at least two backup choices.

And, it probably goes without saying that it’s essential that both you and your spouse agree. If you cannot make a decision, or if you and your spouse cannot agree, remember that if you do not choose and if something happens to you, the Court will have to choose for you. If you and your spouse still have trouble deciding together, that’s what we’re here for. Give us a call, or drop me an email, and we’ll help guide you through the process.

Hope this helps.

To your family’s wealth, health, and happiness!

Aaron Miller

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