Wills/Choosing Guardians

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from ALF72. Show ALF72's posts

    Re: Wills/Choosing Guardians

    Good luck, ml.  We did this several years ago.  We actually named as guardian one person from each of our family [my sister and his brother] and named someone else as conservator.  We did not let anyone know who we had selected or that we had even done this.  We know they are going to do whatever it takes if we die and leave kids behind.  Besides, after we are gone, we won't have to deal with any fallout problems b/c we won't be around.  If anyone is upset about it, oh well. We'll be dead and gone so why stress out about it?  Besides, hopefully, it will never get to that point anyway. 

    The factors were, who would best be able to raise the child.  My youngest sister has a large house, but I'm pretty sure she and her DH don't plan on having kids. My other sister can't have them unless she undergoes intervention [her DH had cancer], and I don't know that she plans to do that.  I named her as guardian b/c I think she has a more level head on her shoulders and would do a better job.  DH's brother that we named has 2 girls.  The other brother is a bit odd.  However, his odd brother and my youngest sister are all good w/ money/legal matters, so we named them as conservators. 

    Of course, we don't have a kid yet, so none of this matters, but those are the criteria we used.  It's good to have this stuff in place, even if it never gets used.  We put our wills/living wills/guardianships in place right after we got married. 

    Why would you tell anyone that you were doing this?  You should have a pretty good idea of who is going to man up and who's going to decline if you name them as guardian w/o having to broach the subject.  Besides, things can change in the future. Make the best selection now w/ the way things are currently b/c it's impossible to plan for every eventuality. Hopefully, the document will never need to be used.

    HTH!
     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from kiwigal. Show kiwigal's posts

    Re: Wills/Choosing Guardians

    Our decision was complicated by the fact that DH is a New Zealander and his whole family is still living in NZ or Australia. We ended up asking his sister and BIL who have teenage children and are the most similar to us in terms of parenting philosophy. My only brother wasn't really an option as he is a confirmed bachelor living in a one-bedroom apartment in NYC. We had to make sure that SIL and BIL agreed to regular visits with DS to visit my family in the US as part of the arrangement. Also, we are the named guardians for their children, so we had already had a number of the same discussions. I think it's important to discuss these things ahead of time and not leave the decision as a "surprise" at what would be a very difficult time. I think that it's a huge responsibility and that whomever you ask needs to have the opportunity to mull over the possibility and be a part of the final decision-making process. Both our families were fine with our decision, but we don't ever get any interference from them around the big decisions that we make.

    As for it being an awful conversation--yes, it is. NO ONE wants to think of the worst-case scenario.

    ETA: I didn't mean to imply that there should be a big sit-down with both sides of the family to discuss. We discussed the issue with SIL and BIL and agreed to the decision, then shared matter-of-factly with my father and father-in-law. There was no discussion with anyone else beyond that.
     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from rysmom. Show rysmom's posts

    Re: Wills/Choosing Guardians

    Our decision was based largely on location and financial stability.  Now that our son is in school and we are established in our community we decided that moving our kids an hour away to live with DH's sister would not be fair to them.  My brother and SIL live 3 mins away.  They are way more stable in terms of finances.  DH's sister is in no way financially or emotionally stable.  The thing is that we would probably never tell her she was not the choice.  We don't talk about it.  I know she would be upset.
     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from Daisy75. Show Daisy75's posts

    Re: Wills/Choosing Guardians

    DH and I are still wrestling with this decision.  My general thoughts on the subject are that I would want as little turmoil and trauma to our kids if something happened to us.  That means that I would want whoever has custody to be relatively local, and if they're able to move into our house with the kids, all the better.  (It pains me to think about our kids losing us and then being forced to move out of their home--let alone move far away from their friends and everything they know--and adjust to living with other people.  That just seems like so much to deal with all at once.  Granted, it may be unavoidable, but that's my ideal.)  The other thing to consider is that whoever has custody of the kids will be in charge of, or at least heavily participate in any financial decisions regarding the use of the kids' inheritance (life insurance, proceeds from the sale of our home, etc.).  It's important to choose someone who you can trust to make wise financial decisions and who knows what you would have thought were acceptable uses of the money.

    So, that being said, neither of my siblings have stable lifestyles and both have horrible credit and I really can't see either of them being the type of parents I would want for my kids.  DH's brother and SIL are just weird.  They're both very smart, but very socially awkward.  Frankly, I don't like them that much to begin with, and I wouldn't want them responsible for my kids' upbringing.  There is no one in our extended families that stands out as a good choice (other than DH's grandparents, but since they're in their 80's, not really an option).  So...that leaves friends.  We have friends who are good with money, but who have such different philosophies about life and religion and politics, that I can't imagine naming them.  We have friends who are similar life/religion/politics-wise, but I wouldn't want them anywhere near our money.  So, that leaves ONE couple who we probably have the most in common with, but just don't spend as much time with as some of our other friends.  They're very stable financially and I would trust them to make wise financial decisions for our kids.  They have a couple kids of their own who aren't too much older than ours.  We know their parents and some of their close family and we get along with them.  So, overall, this couple is probably the best choice.  We haven't discussed it with them, and I don't know if we will (I think the official recommendation is that you do so there are no surprises or custody battles/additional emotional trauma for the kids if your designees aren't willing/able to do it).  Of course, there will be stipulations about frequent visits to/from family, etc., and I hope that our families will be able to accept our decision--in the interests of the kids--even if they aren't happy with it.

    Honestly, this is the biggest reason that we haven't buckled down to do a will yet.  I know that's really bad, and I'm in constant fear that something will happen to us before we get it done.  We really need to get it done, though, and hopefully will do it by the end of this year.

    I really hate thinking about these things.  It breaks my heart to think that I could miss my kids growing up and I can't imagine not getting to know them as adults.
     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from grimalkin. Show grimalkin's posts

    Re: Wills/Choosing Guardians

    We, too, are currently working on this. It's very difficult. I *think* we are going to go with my sister and her husband. Their life and parenting philosophies are closely aligned with ours. They are not the most financially stable of the options but not due to irresponsibility. They have a very modest income but they live within their means and have a comfortable lifestyle.

    We eliminated DH's siblings for a few reasons and luckily my DH and I are in agreement on this.

    Our plan is to discuss this with the desired guardians in order to let them know our wishes, and most importantly, to get their consent.
    We see no reason to notify anybody else in either family since it is not a topic for discussion and should hopefully never be an issue!
     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from KAM2007. Show KAM2007's posts

    Re: Wills/Choosing Guardians

    Ah, the night before we had a transatlantic flight I sat at the computer and wrote down what we wanted-legal, no, but I don't think my family would fight over stuff if we never get it totally legal.

    We actually chose my mother to raise DS. My sister isn't in a spot to do that right now. We had lots of stipulations that the $$ from our policies were to pay off the house, and DS was to be raised there. He was to visit his cousins in Europe at least once a year. And other things about how we want DS to be raised.

    I did tell my mother about the document and outlined what we wanted. She's aware and inagreement to do it. we did tell my IL's, they were happy with it especially that we outlined how often DS was to visit them, and how often they were allowed to visit DS (basically when ever they want they just can't take him out of school).

    We didn't tell my sister -figured she would understand why we chose what we did. As everyone's situation changes we'll relook it. now I just need to make what I've done so far legal...It just stinks to think of such things. 

     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from kiwigal. Show kiwigal's posts

    Re: Wills/Choosing Guardians

    It is heart-breaking for us that DS would be taken away from his home and need to move around the world if something were to happen to both of us. But, there was really no other choice for us because we were adament that he be raised by family and no one in my small immediate family is equipped to do so. Plus, we plan on living in NZ at some point, so it would become less of an issue at that time.
     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from lemonmelon. Show lemonmelon's posts

    Re: Wills/Choosing Guardians

    We've talked about this a lot too. I haven't had the documents drawn up yet because lawyers are very expensive -- what did you guys do? The lowest quote I've received was $1500 for drawing up two simple wills and guardianship papers. There's no way we can afford that. Our families would also abide by our decisions, but I don't want to take any chances with the intricacies of the legal system, since I don't understand it. We'll be leaving a decent amount of money if we kick off at the same time.
    FYI Daisy, one of the lawyers I spoke with said that we could name a financial guardian separate from the legal guardian of the child. It could make things awkward, or it could be put forth as a way to keep more than one side of the family involved in the child's welfare. I don't know.
     
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from lemonmelon. Show lemonmelon's posts

    Re: Wills/Choosing Guardians

    In Response to Re: Wills/Choosing Guardians:
    [QUOTE]It is heart-breaking for us that DS would be taken away from his home and need to move around the world if something were to happen to both of us. But, there was really no other choice for us because we were adament that he be raised by family and no one in my small immediate family is equipped to do so. Plus, we plan on living in NZ at some point, so it would become less of an issue at that time.
    Posted by kiwigal[/QUOTE]

    If his parents died tragically, he might want a change of scene. Think Save the Last Dance (not The Glass House).
     
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from medfordcc. Show medfordcc's posts

    Re: Wills/Choosing Guardians

    I think it is wise to tell/ask the people who you *are* assigning as guardians.  They should be mentally prepared.  I agree that there is no need to make a big deal of telling the people you are not assigning.
    I agree with everyone else that location and stability are huge factors.  We wanted to make sure that grandparents would always be able to maintain strong ties to the little one even though they aren't going to be guardians.
    We are trying to figure out what to do about the financial aspects, if anyone has insight on this.  And life insurance, for that matter.
     
  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from purplecow89. Show purplecow89's posts

    Re: Wills/Choosing Guardians

    If all your family is at a distance, consider putting something in writing that some chosen friends have temporary legal authority for the kids in case of emergency. What if you're both in a car accident and in the hospital for a week or two, or you are both killed or incapacitated?   Someone is legally OK to hold down the fort until relatives are available. 

    When you get your will done, ask the attorney about this. 
     
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from lemonmelon. Show lemonmelon's posts

    Re: Wills/Choosing Guardians

    In Response to Re: Wills/Choosing Guardians:
    [QUOTE]I think it is wise to tell/ask the people who you *are* assigning as guardians.  They should be mentally prepared.  I agree that there is no need to make a big deal of telling the people you are not assigning. I agree with everyone else that location and stability are huge factors.  We wanted to make sure that grandparents would always be able to maintain strong ties to the little one even though they aren't going to be guardians. We are trying to figure out what to do about the financial aspects, if anyone has insight on this.  And life insurance, for that matter.
    Posted by medfordcc[/QUOTE]

    Remember too that the people you want to care for your child might not want to do it.

    I worried a lot about life insurance but it ended up being pretty straightforward. The guy walked us through it -- bills for 10 years, balance of house and car, any major repairs we anticipate needing. I would have liked to have worked college money in too, but it was too expensive. (My husband smokes -- my policy was surprisingly inexpensive.)

    Definitely call around for rates, though -- there's a HUGE difference from one company to the next.
     
  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from lemonmelon. Show lemonmelon's posts

    Re: Wills/Choosing Guardians

    The funny thing that comes up when you talk about insurance is income replacement -- because you have to guess when you'll remarry. I enjoyed that part.
     
  14. You have chosen to ignore posts from rysmom. Show rysmom's posts

    Re: Wills/Choosing Guardians

    Miss - can I ask who you used?  We have made the choices but need to do the actual will.  We have been paying for Legal Assistance through DH's work which includes wills but we haven't looked into any of the people on the list.  We are in Central MA.
     
  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from medfordcc. Show medfordcc's posts

    Re: Wills/Choosing Guardians

    In Response to Re: Wills/Choosing Guardians:
    [QUOTE]The funny thing that comes up when you talk about insurance is income replacement -- because you have to guess when you'll remarry. I enjoyed that part.
    Posted by lemonmelon[/QUOTE]

    I just told my husband yesterday that if I kick off, he can't marry any wicked stepmothers who would make my baby Cinderella!
    Ah, a little humor... the only way to choke down this topic.
     
  16. You have chosen to ignore posts from purplecow89. Show purplecow89's posts

    Re: Wills/Choosing Guardians

    I once got a call from my the HR benefits person at my husband's work.  Apparently we'd accidentally signed up for BOTH life insurance choices by mistake.  Ms. HR said to me, "Right now if he goes you're in line for about a million dollars..."  and then paused, and then "Hmmmmm....." 
     
  17. You have chosen to ignore posts from ml2620-2. Show ml2620-2's posts

    Re: Wills/Choosing Guardians

    Wow, so this is the silent topic that's been keeping everyone up at night. Thank you all for your thoughts and responses.

    We were thinking in terms of values and love, and selected my sister as guardian. However, you've given us some things to think about - she lives in DC, has sick student loans and a career that will make paying them back a challenge, and although it does not matter or we see it as a positive, she's gay and I am wondering if that brings any challenges we haven't thought of yet. My SIL visited over the weekend and told DH she and her husband were willing to be named as guardian - they are very stable, our "wealthy" siblings and have the same political and social values. I don't know what to do. I think I'll just do my best to stay alive as long as possible.

    DH though is heavily insured so he can go anytime...
     
  18. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: Wills/Choosing Guardians

    About the cost, we got a completely legal divorce with papers online for $150.  No lawyers, no fees.  I'd look into fill in the blank legal documents online before I automatically assumed we had to spend over $1000 on legal fees for what is usually a fairly standard document. 
     
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  20. You have chosen to ignore posts from ALF72. Show ALF72's posts

    Re: Wills/Choosing Guardians

    In Response to Re: Wills/Choosing Guardians:
    [QUOTE]I thought someone here was an attorney and would know this, but just having a will does not make your choice of guardian legal.  There are different things that a trust atty can put together for you, that will make it so your estate and kids don't have to go to probate if someone contests it.  Wills, living trusts, guardian and financial conservatorship documents are complicated.  I paid over $2000 for mine to be done.  This is not legalzoom material. Also, how can you name someone to care for your kid without having asked them for their consent.  This is a huge deal, you need to have someone that wants to do it, not just someone you want to do it.  Laying this on someone without their knowlegde and consent is a serious reach. If you're going to do something as serious as this, you need to take it seriously.  Otherwise, don't do anything at all, and let your family fight with your spouse's family over who does what and who gets who, because that's what it's going to come down to without the right documents.
    Posted by some-guy[/QUOTE]

    Dude, I am an attorney.  The will is legal.  It was a stop gap measure b/c we don't actually have kids yet.  When they are born, we fully intended to go and do a proper document.  Wills can cover even unborn children and unconceived children [they are called "issue"] at the time of the making of the will. 

    You never tell the executor of the will that they are the executor in advance. They have the ability to decline it after your death.  That's why there is a provision in most wills for a back up.  There is a statutory failsafe for if the back up bites it too.  Same for a trust.  There is a saying in the Trust and Estate world that 'a trust does not fail for want of a trustee'.  

    Guardians can ALWAYS change their minds before they actually undertake the charge of the child.  Having their written consent or oral consent while you are still alive means nada. 

    Most people know who in their circle of family or friends is going to actually undertake the task w/o asking them.  If there are financial reasons why they can't do it, then the child becomes the ward of the state.  We are fortunate in knowing that our family will undertake the task no matter what the cost. Yes, we know that [they don't secretly seethe about their life on line rather than just asking their wife for a divorce b/c they don't want to pay alimony and child support].  We are also fortunate in that we would be leaving enough money to raise a child to the child's majority [minus all of it's college education] so that doing so would not be a financial burden on the guardian.  We just don't have said kid yet. If we kick off simultaneously before we have a child, our siblings are going to take one hell of a vacation w/ the payout. 

    that guy is right about one thing. Do not do this online.  $1500 for will/trust documents is a good deal.  Avoiding probate is a good thing too and easy to do. Just ask when you get your wills done and they will set it up. 
     
  21. You have chosen to ignore posts from ALF72. Show ALF72's posts

    Re: Wills/Choosing Guardians

    FWIW, my personal opinion on agonizing over this is as follow: unless you are a single parent, both have terminal illnesses or are both  deploying, there is no real 'urgency' for this type of document or decision.  Yes, they are good to have and you should consult a lawyer and get the necessary papers drawn up, but I just don't see the point in initiating a conversation w/ a potential guardian unless there is a real, immediate chance that they are going to have to step up to the plate.  Most people you ask in a hypothetical situation are going to say 'Of course I'll do it".  Yes, someone may suprise you by telling you 'no' and then reveal some secret financial or health problem you didn't know about, but 9 times out of 10 no one is going to tell a perfectly healthy, married couple "no, I will not hypothetically take in your child if you both tragically die".  

    Just make the best, informed decision that you can based on who you think would best be able to care for the child, and then go with that. In most instances, these documents never get used and simply become a piece of paper once the child hits the age of majority.   
     
  22. You have chosen to ignore posts from lemonmelon. Show lemonmelon's posts

    Re: Wills/Choosing Guardians

    I hope you have a long, healthy life, ALF.
     
  23. You have chosen to ignore posts from ALF72. Show ALF72's posts

    Re: Wills/Choosing Guardians

    Thanks, lemon. Right back at ya!
     
  24. You have chosen to ignore posts from Soxgirl07. Show Soxgirl07's posts

    Re: Wills/Choosing Guardians

    A little OT, but I thought this story I just heard from my mom might be relevant to some people here...
    My uncle apparently asked my parents to be guardians of their kids just in case when we were all young (we're all in our 20s now and all parents are still around!) My mom said no for a couple reasons, at the time she and my dad were struggling financially and my uncle was already wealthy, they live in NC, our families aren't that close and their parenting philosophies don't match up well. It wasn't that she wasn't willing to take in her niece and nephews, it was that she knew she couldn't give them the lifestyle they were used to and in the case of a tragic incident, didn't want them in that kind of additional upheaval.
    Apparently he was very insulted and that was one factor in many that kept them from having a good relationship until recently. At the time, her father called to and scolded her for "not just saying yes because it was never going to actually happen," and it turned into some big family drama.   
    I'm not entirely sure the moral of this story... Pick your guardians wisely? Try to be understanding if they decline?
     
  25. You have chosen to ignore posts from lemonmelon. Show lemonmelon's posts

    Re: Wills/Choosing Guardians

    Is it really necessary to have a lawyer draw up the papers if everyone in the family agrees on our plans?
     
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