To somehow decline a request to become Guardian?(97 Posts)
Today some friends asked what we thought about becoming the Guardian of their two kids in case something happened to the two of them.
These are pretty good friends. Have known since before both lots of us had kids. We see them about 2/3 times a year (they are not local to us). Kids are very young school age (so - if something happened to the parents tomorrow - we would be talking about around 15 years of "live at home" Guardianship.
The husband has a sister - who he doesn't get on with at all. The wife has several siblings - who I guess that she also doesn't get on with well enough. We are a stable couple with two children a similar age and a nice house in a nice community (although not near their families).
I guess I have three things that put me off Guardianship in this case:
- These friends parent slightly differently to me (and I am quite a bit stricter).
- I worry about the impact on our current family life: the whole cost of living (including holidays, trips, days out etc) would be considerably more for four kids than two. Ok, we are very lucky and currently do quite a lot of travel and things: can't see that being sustainable for four kids. I assume that money could be "released from the parent's estate" to help fund things, but I would probably feel guilty (i.e. that the estate should be kept intact for their education/future).
- my Dad (my mum died a couple of years ago) has been recently diagnosed with inoperable cancer. I am already feeling awfully like "the squashed middle": I feel like the weight of the world is on my shoulders. The thought of further responsibility stresses the crap out of me
Husband is not very "community minded" and would be fairly against guardianship of anyone.
I theoretically would be up for guardianship, but probably someone very close to me (nieces/nephews or similar). I would probably struggle to turn friends down as a last resort after the event, but can't help to think that there must be someone closer to them as a better first resort (like one of their siblings).
... BUT I feel like such a bitch wanting to somehow politely decline... How on earth WOULD you politely decline?!
Look, I'm sorry, I really really can't in an official capacity, I've got my hands full already with two, that's why we haven't had any more, I'm sure you understand...
Would guardianship definitely involve having the children living with you? Could it involve being a watchful eye on them with foster carers or family to make sure they were happy and well cared for?
Im so sorry but its just too much of a commitment for me to make what with x y and z. So flattered though, thankyou
"We've thought about it and I'm afraid we really couldn't accept such a huge responsibility, we're sorry"
Could you say that you've already promised your siblings you'd do it for them and wouldn't want to put yourself in the (albeit unlikely) position of having honour both commitments?
I think I'd agree on the grounds that it's vanishingly unlikely to happen, but if the idea alone is too stressful for you I would sit down face to face and explain why with reference to your dad etc.
If they are good friends they will understand and get past it.
Agree with Norma, "I am really flattered to be asked, but we are already down as guardians for several neices/nephews, and my other responsibilities in the family are growing too... if anything happened to you, we would always keep in touch with your children, and be there as an extra aunty and uncle for them, but we are not in a position to take full responsibility...."
I understand how you feel. Thankfully no one has asked us but I have thought about what I would do and I wouldn't want to. If I wanted more children I would have had them myself.
I agree with how pp have said it but also it doesn't have to mean you look after them. My dad is down but only as a decision maker not to look after them (Although that isn't stipulated but he knows and he wouldn't want to and couldn't do it anyway). You could do this but I have a feeling it's no what your friends have in mind. It's a big ask of non family that you don't see often, you don't even know they children well.
If you only see them 2 or 3 times a year they must have been through (and discarded) siblings etc before they got to you.
I don't honestly know if I could turn a request like that down to be honest.
You could accep, keep Guardianship and decline living with the dc in the event of both parents passing away. What will they do, haunt you?
Yes, they are definitely looking for "live in" care (and cannot blame them - in the reverse situation I would definitely not want my kids going into foster care).
They know that we actively tried for "number 3" and didn't succeed.
Yes, I do like the idea of mentioning that we are already Guardians to my niece and nephew. I know that the chances of anything happening to either couple - let alone both - is incredibly unlikely. But, you are right: that is why I am taking the request so incredibly seriously - you have to consider that it really really could happen.
Say that you are incredibly honoured to be asked, but you are under huge pressure at the moment and don't think it is the right time to make such an important decision.
We have asked friends to be guardians, and I really just wanted an honest answer - I wouldn't have been in any way offended if they had declined.
One of the things that would put me off is that you would have the responsibility of keeping the children in touch with both their parents' families. That is a big additional requirement that you wouldn't have with your own "extra" DC and would only have half as much with a sibling's child.
Also I have (had) friends where this situation did actually become reality for the guardians, so I am acutely aware that, sadly, it does happen.
No they DEFINITELY mean Guardianship (ie looking after and bringing up) and not Trustee. His request was along the lines of "would you consider being their Guardian - don't want them growing up with my sister!".
I couldn't say "yes" and then - in any way - decline the full responsibility of looking after them if the worst happened. Don't believe in ghosts, but couldn't live with myself. One of the reasons that I am a very good Guardian candidate: I am very very reliable and do things very right.
It's a big ask, but also a huge compliment. Your friends feel you are the best people they can think of to care for their children were it needed. It is of course highly unlikely that the children will lose both parents. Even if it were to happen it might be years in the future. Would your financial worries be allayed if they put decent life insurance in place so that all the children (yours and theirs) could continue the lifestyle you want? Would you consider being joint guardians with one or more of their siblings?
That is a BIG ask.
And you are perfectly within your rights to say, No sorry. Flattered to be asked but we can't take on that responsibility.
You are not beholden to the dynamics that went on in their respective familes.
1. They'd be dead, no one to tell you to parent differently
2. You'd have all their money to raise them
3. It won't happen
I did this for my best mate. The chances of the couple dying together with no kids with them is incredibly small. In the last 15 years I can count on one hand when it's just been me and dh in the car.
Could you say that it is hard for you to commit at the moment given your dad's situation...?
You could always chicken out a bit and say "I'm afraid there are family reasons why we couldn't agree to take on this responsibility" and leave them to infer that there's some specific factor they dint know about. But that would be a cop out - they know it's a huge ask, you can just say no.
A bit off-topic, but I find this really weird. Do people really do this? I thought it was just something done in films to help with the plot. Who is advising parents to name guardians in the rare event of both parents dying? Or are they ill?
You've been asked what you think and your response is on reflection, that you are honoured to be asked but you cannot take it on for various reasons. You don't have to explain or justify. You have thought it through responsibly.
as your husband doesn't want to do it that is reason enough on its own!
to say yes on the basis that it won't happen would be very irresponsible. I very much hope it won't - but it might. Laurie, I'm afraid, that as kids are better protected in car seats they CAN survive a crash that orphans them.
lucky it is a perfectly normal and responsible thing to do, especially in these days of older grandparents and fewer siblings.
A bit off-topic, but I find this really weird. Do people really do this?
Yes, bloody hell of course people do this! You should have it agreed and written into your will otherwise it leaves behind a horribly messy situation if you and your husband both die.
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