(Closed) Who to list as legal guardian of our children in our will?

posted 4 years ago in Parenting
Post # 2
193 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: Backyard

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nickels :  

We opted for a sibling. My main concern with using either of our sets of parents was actually their age – although all of our parents are currently in excellent health and would be more than capable of raising children right now, we had to consider that the situation could easily change over the next 18 years and we wanted to ensure that the potential guardians for our child(ren) would still be most likely to be capable and well for at least the next couple of decades.

For us, though, it was a bit easier of a decision – my DH is an only child and I only have one sibling, with whom we both get along. My sibling & partner do not currently have children, but if they did, I would personally have no qualms about my children being raised along with their cousins.

Post # 3
355 posts
Helper bee

If you like your aunts parenting style that much, I would go with her. When making this decision, you have to think about your children first and foremost. Everyone’s feelings come in a very very very very distant second.

Post # 4
1898 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2017

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nickels :  I am the child of a parent who died at an early age. I was thankfully 19, so I was technically an adult, but my 15 year old sister was not. My only piece of advice is make sure that the person you choose is someone who is stable, and their behavior doesnt change. My mom left my sister in my care in her will, but since there was a living parent (my astranged father) I actually had to sue for custody, which was a headache.

Think about who would care for your children in the same way that you would. That is the most important thing.

Post # 5
486 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

Well my DH and I haven’t officially decided, but we will likely ask my brother and SIL.  They have also asked us to be the guardian for their son should anything happen.  The only other viable option for us was DH’s brother and SIL.  I think both options would be great for our children and I would absolutely trust them to raise my kids.  The deciding factor though was more logistical.  My brother and SIL are both attorney’s, make decent salaries, and live in a good public school district and have similar values to DH and I in terms of education.  My DH’s brother and SIL (while would be excellent parents), live in the middle of nowhere, in a terrible school district.  A large portion of kids don’t graduate high school, get into drugs, etc.  Also my Brother-In-Law is in law enforcement- a dangerous job.  I would hate if my children lost their parents to be re-homed with aunt and uncle, and then something happens to uncle… 

My parents never decided who would get me and my brother… so they never ended up finishing their will (now that we’re grown and that’s not an issue they have since revised and completed it).  My parents were listed as guardians for my cousins should something have happened under the condition my parents (and us kids) moved into their house (they lived about 20 min away in a beautiful home in a great district) so that was easy for my parents to agree to.

I would caution against grandparents.  One- Like you said, how would you decide?  Two- They would likely go before you and your DH anyway (or potentially not long after), and will continue to age and will reach a point where they may not be able to continue to care for your children- then their next guardian is out of your hands.

Anyway- hopefully these experiences give you more food for thought.  good luck bee!  It’s such a tough choice!

Post # 6
9806 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2013

We are doing my parents.  I think I would love for a sibling in an ideal world but it doesn’t work for us.  DH has 2 married brothers but neither one want children.  The other is 25 and single.  My brothers are both single and barely responsible for themselves.  His parents are divorced which makes things easier.  His mother is remarried and capable but we don’t really agree with her religiously or socially/politically and she lives far away.  My parents leave fairly close and we agree with them on those issues and trust them 100% with our Dear Daughter.  The only thing that makes it tough for me to go with parents is that as they age they can face problems of their own- so something to take into consideration.  My mom is in very good shape and by the time she is older my kids should be old enough that she isn’t chasing after them or anything.  Although one of DH’s brothers does not want kids of their own, I think they would definitely be willing to help (and good with children) if something happened to my parents.  They are more religious than we are but not in the overt and pushy way that my Mother-In-Law is.  And I would trust them- so that would probably be our second choice.

Post # 7
606 posts
Busy bee

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nickels :  I don’t have kids yet but have been involved in the discussion with a friend and her husband, and I am now their sons’ legal guardian. I obviously now know why I was included in the convo. Lol.

We were chosen because our friends, like my fiancée and I, don’t believe in putting grandparents in the will as their age and finances wouldn’t allow them to raise kids a second time. 

What would happen if you only named a set of grandparents and they had entered retirement at the time of your death and your kids still have 10 and 12 years to be raised at their home (so 8 and 6 years old). Well unless they are milionaires their pension and savings are probably not enough for 4 people to live off of for 10 years. That would be the equivalent of 20+ years of their savings gone to 10 years more of raising your kids. And that is hoping your kids move out by 18. If they dont, which is common now with the housing prices going up and for every year they stay it is 2+ years of your parents savings. Not to mention your parents won’t have the energy to do it as they continue to age. The same goes with your Aunt.

My vote is your brother. If you like his other half and she has the same ideals of raising kids and your brother has your family’s traditions to bring to the table. He is a good fit. 

Your kids being the only ones, is the least of your worries. Your highest priority should be who can provide for them despite having other kids or financial responsibilities, maintain your parenting style, give them the well rounded upbringing and traditions you hold dear. 

However, at the end of the day your children are yours and I have no idea your parenrs’ age, they could have been teens when they had you or your husband, I don’t know their financial situation either. Your brother also gets you out of picking parents and your parents continue to be grandparents and not parent 2.0s.

Post # 9
47381 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

View original reply
nickels :  Age is an important consideration, not because an older person can’t do a great job, but because the simple reality is your parents and your aunt (depending on her age) may be dead before you.

If this is the case, and you haven’t updated your will, the disposition of the children will be left to the courts.

Name the one you really want, but make sure you update your will as necessary.

Post # 10
9773 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

All of our parents are already around age 65, so for that reason alone we are planning on asking SIL and her DH.

Post # 11
971 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2015

I personally would also vote for your brother.  If something horrible happened, he can fall back on all the grandparents for assistance, I’m sure.  But, if your only hesitation is his student loans, I think that’s a very small concern in a way – especially if you’d trust him to use your childrens’ inheritance for their care.

I was my younger sibling’s guardian, too, until he turned 18.  And my older brother and sister in law discussed with me as they considered having me as the guardian for their kids, but they went with her brother and because he was married already and settled into his life.  While I would have done anything for the kids if needed, it was a good choice because I hadn’t really settled into life/didn’t have a long term partner, etc, so a lot of my future was unknown at the time they were making that decision.  

That’s just the exposure I’ve had to this.  I imagine this has to be one of the toughest things to think about and decide!

Post # 12
14492 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

Understand the laws of you area when writing up your will. I’m many areas, a listed choice in a will is only a suggestion to a judge of who your choice would be. I suggest writing brutally honest letters to a mythical judge on why you came to that choice, including specifically why you don’t want want specific people to have custody. I’ll reiterate, absolutely brutally honest. No one will ever see these unless your dead and this would be your last battle for the sake of your children so be vicious.  We were lucky, judges rarely go against a living parent when hubs ex died, but we had some odd people come out of the woodwork that wanted custody of my stepson. That same thing happened to my dad when his first wife passed. Un-involved, some unknown, relatives poking their heads out wanting my sister. 

Post # 13
4227 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2015 - Hotel Ballroom

Currently pregnant with baby #1. DH and I have talked about this in great detail. If Father-In-Law is in the medical position to care for our children they will go to him….as he lives with us anyways (albeit due to medical reasons). If he is deemed unfit to care for our kids due to his health issues (which at this point is 50/50 to be honest) they will go to DH’s brother and SIL.

The way my parents had their will set up to care for my younger brother and I was a little more complicated. We were to go live with my Mom’s best friend HOWEVER, my Step Grandmother would be the executor of my parents estate and give my Moms friend a monthly ‘allowance’ from the estate to cover child raising expense. ALSO, if I happened to be 18 (my brother was almost three years younger than me) I had the legal option to take custody of my brother.

Post # 14
3109 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: March 2016 - Surfer\'s Beach, Grand Cayman

I think we will ask SIL and her husband. They own a home, have stable jobs and plan to have children of their own in the next few years. They are close in age to us, only a little younger. The other option would be my parents but they live 6 hours away and I have some issues with my mother and the emotional damage she did to me growing up. I would want them to be involved in their lives as much as possible but I don’t think it would be the healthiest environment for them full time. 

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