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Can I tell my bil and sil how to raise my children if I am dead?

(9 Posts)
mymama Tue 14-Aug-07 08:00:06

Wasn't sure where to put this as I don't like reducing my dc to legal/money matters. But anyway...

Dh and I are doing our will. We have spoken to bil and sil about having the dc should something happen to us. They are loving parents and will treat our dc as their own which is really important to me. My parents died when I was very young so I know what it is like to grow up in someone elses family.

We would leave them enough money to pay their mortgage (if they choose) and raise our dc. We don't really care how they manage the money. Our concern is that we have very different priorities when it comes to money. There are a few things we feel are very important for our dc that they don't see as important for their dc. These include private schooling, sports activities and non essential health such as braces. To clarify, an example would be sports. Their dc don't do any and our dc do. Their ds2 needed speech therapy but they didn't bother with it. Our ds1 needs it and is having it. Their children their choice. It is not a money issue they just have different priorities.

So my question is:

Can we tell them our dc must attend private schools even if their dc don't?

Can we tell them they have to leave money for braces as we know the eldest two will need them?

Can we tell them our dc must keep up at least one sport even if their dc don't?

Or should we just be grateful that they are happy to take our dc and know that they would be loved?

RubySlippers Tue 14-Aug-07 08:05:20

if they have such different parenting ideas perhaps you should look at another option? Having said that knowing your children will be loved and cared for is priceless and the most important thing
we are writing our wills and have been looking at options for the "dark scenario" so we have had to consider options too
i think you can put money in trust for say private school fees etc and specific instructions but you should clarify with your solicitor

GooseyLoosey Tue 14-Aug-07 08:09:55

Think that you could put your money in trust for your children and specify very clearly what the objects of that trust are ie provision of private education etc. Appoint someone as a trustee who you believe will apply the money as you wish. Any residual funds left in trust after paying for what you want could then be paid to your dcs at 18/21 (or whenever). Trusts are fairly simple to understand but need some thought as to the detail - eg should there be any restrictions on the way in which trust assets are invested? There are also tax consequences of this type of arrangement which you would need to check on. Are you sure you have enough money to do everything you want - if not, you will also have to consider what happens if it runs out?

Give bil and sil additional money to meet day to day living costs.

Ultimately of course, nothing will guarantee what you want.

mymama Tue 14-Aug-07 08:37:03

Thanks for the replies. I wasn't sure if I was being too pushy telling them how to raise the dc. I would really appreciate them taking the dc on.

They are lovely parents. They have different priorities to us moneywise but I know they would follow our wishes.

Hopefully this is all hypothetical anyway.

MrsWobble Tue 14-Aug-07 08:40:30

I would have thought a letter along the lines of a statement of wishes would work. This would give clear indications of what you want but without tieing your BIL/SIL's hands - you can't foresee every eventuality and the most important thing is that your children are happy and loved, not that they play sport (although that might be a component of their happiness).

If you don't feel able to trust your BIL/SIL to either want to or be able to follow your wishes then have you got the right guardians?

portonovo Tue 14-Aug-07 19:17:23

I agree you can leave a letter of wishes, but it wouldn't be binding and you would have to word it very carefully, it could sound really controlling and petty if the worst came to the worst. Like you say, the important thing is that your children are loved and well cared for.

Looking at your list, a couple of things stand out as a bit minor. For instance, braces - these are free anyway unless you want to jump the waiting lists. And your children 'must' keep up at least one sport - what if your children didn't want to a few years down the line? And most children find their own feet that way - certainly at secondary school my children could be doing sport every day of the week if they chose to.

The private school thing - if it is that important to you, you can set up a trust fund that would pay for that. I would be very wary though of setting up a potential scenario where your own children would be treated very differently from the cousins they were growing up with. That could be a very unhappy situation for all concerned.

If these things matter so much to you, and you really are worried about them, I would rethink whether I had picked the 'right' guardians for my children.

SofiaAmes Tue 14-Aug-07 20:29:34

I think that if you have made the decision that your bil/sil have the same fundamental values as you do and that they are the ones to raise your children, then I would let the rest go. I think that if it did come to it, they would have enough of a hard time dealing with all the emotional issues your dc will have related to losing their parents. And that having to second guess superficial things like braces and private/public school will only distract them from the main issues.

For example, I have enough money to send my chidlren to private school and sign them up for lots of extra sports activities. I have chosen not to do so for a variety of reasons (such as my and dh's background and my dc's personalities). However, I still believe strongly in the importance of education (most of my family are academics) and being active. I just don't necessarily think that private school and extra curricular sports activities are the way to do it (for us). Last summer I signed my ds up for a sports camp....he didn't like it, but finished the summer and then asked not to be signed up for it again. So this summer ...a year later...I signed him up for art instead and lo and behold, he complained and wanted to be signed up for sports after all...sometimes you need to let some kids find their own way....(eg. I wouldn't give the same choices to my dd who is fickle just for the sake of it)
If you feel that your sil/bil feel strongly about the same final goals, then I would leave them to choose the path to get there. They will do a better job of it, and make better decisions if they are comfortable with the path they are taking.

mymama Tue 14-Aug-07 23:35:45

I really appreciate the replies. I would love to state these things in our will but I don't want to sound petty and controlling from the grave. Lets face it, I won't know any better will I?

portonovo the reason I mentioned braces is because I am in Australia and they are not free to anyone. Free general dental is only for people on benefits only and the waiting list is 3 to 5 years long. Braces are around $6000 each. These are important to dh and I because as children we should have had braces and didn't get them. Our teeth are not great and we don't want our children to "suffer" the same as us.

Because I am in Australia, sport is huuuge here. Our dc have started in their respective sports and love it. This is their 2nd year so still keen at this point. They also do swimming lessons which I think are v v important in Oz. Important to us that they keep them up.

Perhaps the better way to go would be state actual amounts for things and hope they provide them?

gess Wed 15-Aug-07 00:00:12

We've appointed my parents as guardians and put someone else in charge of the trust adminstration (no idea why tbh- think dh wanted to reduce administrative burden on my parents). It does then mean you can write a letter of wishes to the trustee. We don't have one but have told the trustee that we would expect it to pay for education and trips and to ensure that my parents aren't out of pocket.

Our will is hopelessly out of date though, so don't listen to me!

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