My husband and I can't agree on a guardian for our daughter, and she's almost three. He wants his sister and I want mine. What should we do?

Picking a guardian for your child is certainly one of the hardest parts of parenting. So many people spend years (and years) going back and forth, debating their options. And, for a lot of couples, choosing someone raises all sorts of hot button, in-law issues that only complicate matters.

My advice is to stick to objective criteria. Assuming both sisters are healthy, happy, responsible adults, try to avoid sensitive subjects like their relative personality strengths or any past family squabbles.

Instead, take a sheet of paper and analyze the practical pros and cons of each sibling. While your list depends on your individual circumstances, here are some general questions to start you off: Does one of them live close by? Do your kids see one more than the other? Does one have kids of her own or kids the same age as your daughter? Whose house could better accommodate additional children? Remember: neither sister is going to be a perfect match. But go with the sibling that fits as many of your practical considerations as possible.

Whatever you do, set a firm deadline with your husband, so you don't wind up celebrating your little girl's fourth birthday without finishing your will. Good luck!


Legal Pro, Jacoba Urist

Jacoba UristJacoba Urist, Esq. is a health and business journalist in New York City. She's currently working on a book, The Happiest Parent, about estate planning and personal finance, specifically for parents. Over the past year, she's interviewed hundreds of mothers and researched (almost) every aspect of protecting your family's long-term well-being, and she came to one overwhelming conclusion: The Happiest Parent is the one who plans for the future no matter how hard it may seem today.

Jacoba earned her Juris Doctorate from New York University in 2002 as well as her Masters in Taxation in 2004. She also has a Masters from The Johns Hopkins University Institute for Policy Studies where she studied economic and regulatory issues.