making a will - any advice on who to look after the children should the unthinkable happen...(11 Posts)
We have four children (6, 4, 2 and 6 months) and until now have had our heads buried in the sand about making a will. We think about it over and over, but can't agree on what to say about the children if the worst were to happen, and both dh and I were to die at the same time.
Basically, dh's parents are elderly so not really in a position to do anything. My parents are younger but not really ideal candidates (age, plus views on parenting!!) and our siblings have families of their own, which is not necessarily a bad thing (although one of our siblings has a child with SN and we wouldn't want to add to the burden). We've got a couple of close friends who have a similar outlook to us on parenting, but would they really want to take on four extra children??!! I wouldn't blame them... it would change your entire lives, wouldn't it? I expect people will say family, but if you're not that close to your family, what are you to do? We struggle with this, because we debate endlessly whether it would be better for them all to be with e.g. my parents or ds, where things may not be ideal but they will be with family, or say something more open-ended which would identify several different people and they could work out who was best placed at the time and in the circumstances to offer to help. But, would they then decide to split the children up? We've discussed this endlessly too. We feel it would be better for them not to be split up, but then we would say that!!
If you don't mind sharing your views on what you would do - it will hopefully help us to move on from this constant analysing and discussing and not actually moving forwards. I know that (touch wood etc) hopefully we will never need these plans, but if the worst was to happen, it is so frightening to think that our children could go into care, or be split up/taken to opposite ends of the country, or looked after by people who we know would try their best, but... you know??!!
I know this isn't the cheeriest of topics, but for anyone who has thought about this, I'd really genuinely value your pov.
Also, if you are going to nominate people in your will, I guess you would have to discuss this with them. My instinct says that people will feel under pressure just from being asked, and I don't know how we'll feel if they say 'no'... which we'd obviously rather they did if that was what they felt, but... arghh!! what if they all say no??!! Where do you go then?
I don't know what would be best for you but can tell you what we have arranged.
We have 5 DCs so like you were concerned about the burden of leaving someone 5 children. My sister has 2 DCs and wouldn't want to add 5 more. She doesn't have the patience, money or space. My parents are a definate no, we are not close and don't like their parenting views. My PIL are lovely but unfortunately too old. Luckily for us my SIL only has 1 DC and can't have any more. She has a big house and would love more children. We discussed it at length with her before putting it in our Will, thinking about how to make it possible eg finances, family contact, schools etc. We also left the house and any money to her in our Will. We felt this would help cover the cost of raising our children. We trust her to use any money left (if there is any), towards their future, eg uni or help towards a car or house, as they get older. We also know she would help our DCs keep in touch with their relatives on my side of the family and she would have help and support from her parents.
Do you have any more distant relatives who you would be happy with, eg a cousin or Aunt? When we only had 3DCs it used to be my cousin they would be left to, because she was still young but her own children had grown up and left home, so she had the space. My SIL was still at uni at the time so not in a position to care for our DCs if the worst happened.
Remember you can change your Will as peoples circumstances change and your DCs get older. It definately changed things for us.
Good luck, it is a difficult decision, but an important one.
Thank you for sharing what you did Nar4 - sounds like you've thought about it carefully and discussed it very carefully with your SIL. I wish we had someone in a similar position. No distant relatives that we know well enough... just not sure how to pick our way through this one!!
Just done our will, got 3 DCs.Both sets of GPs are 70+.We each have 2 sisters.3,sisters have 2 DCs,one has 3.We decided GPs were too old.We asked each sister if they would mind.All said of course,if anything happened ,no question.We have named in the will the sister with the oldest DCs (1 is at Uni) so if anything did happen,she would have the time to look after ours.We have said in the will all our DCs stay together.Also if anyone has to look after DCs any money from our property etc goes to the sister looking after them to help pay for everything.Hopefully will never happen but better to have plans in place anyway..
We have my SIL (discussed with her) but may change it to my BIL now he has a family too and lives nearer.
Do you know who will be guardian to your siblings' children?
I have 3 children. My brother has two of similar age and my BIL has 3 of similar age. I looked at it the other way around - would I take in their children if the unthinkable happened?? The answer is of course I would. Obviously it wouldn't be ideal, but somehow I would have to cope. You say your siblings have children - who have they appointed?? Can you ask them and maybe suggest a reciprocal arrangement? On the whole I think family are much more likely to step into the breach than friends - however good friends they are and however like minded they may be. I appointed my brother as the children's guardian, all DH and my assets left to our children but both my brother and BIL as executors and trustees - so assets in thrust for the children would be managed by them (and they would be able to apply funds towards upkeep and living expenses etc from the trust). I am appointed as my brother's children's guardian.
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Suggest you start by making a list of all possibilities. Then go through it looking at the practicalities -whose got space, who could afford the expense, whose in good enough health. To a certain extent it will depend on the financial support you are able to provide for them in the event of your death (enough so someone could buy a bigger house, or car or extend their current house, or ever afford a holiday again). Once you've got a list of who is practically possible you can start thinking about who you prefer and talk to them (bear in mind also you can change their guardians if circumstances change).
DH and I discussed this when pregnant with DC1 and revisited it when making our will. At that time we had 2 DC, now 3.
We chose DH's cousin. She has children close to ours in age (her DC2 is 6 months older than our DC1) , they go to the same school, went to the same nursery, and are used to spending time together.
They live quite near to us, and we felt it would mean the least upheaval for our DC. The cousin already has a sister with SN, plus her mum lives with her.
We appointed DH's brother as financial guardian. Should we both die, our estate would be in the region if £1m.
I think it helps if you have your insurances/finances in order, so you can say to whoever you ask that there would be ample money to support the children - it makes a big difference if you know that taking on 4 extra children wouldn't be a total financial disaster.
We only have 2 dds, but they would be two pretty well off girls if we both die (life insured to the eyeballs and the mortgage on a house in London would be cleared), and my younger sister and her DH would have them. She has one dd.
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