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legal guardians for our children if we were to die..what are your arrangements if you have more than one child?

(22 Posts)
pavlovthecat Thu 04-Jun-09 19:21:31

DH and I have been seriously discussing what would happen if we were to die, where we would want our children to go.

It was agreed, when we had just DD, that we would ask our close friends. They have a boy aged 6, DD is almost 3. They adore her and already see her very much as family. They live a life close enough to how we live that we would feel happy with DD being brought up with their values and they way they choose to live. Our other option is family, the closet family who would be possible woud be DHs brother, he has a step child, and his own son aged almost 3 too. But he lives in USA. Both he and his wife work long hours and the children spend a lot of time in childcare. His children are happy, but the way he lives his life and raises his children in a capitalist environment is very different to our life, different attitudes to so many things and just not how we would raise our children. Of course if this was the only option, we would be happy for DD to be raised with her cousins, that element of it is a positive one. I am also not entirely convinced our children would not feel like they were a burden whereas with our friends, we know they would be one of the family, like DD already is.

Now, we have never actually got around to setting it in stone with our friends/lawyers. Although the subject was mentioned once upon a time with them and they were keen to be involved should it ever be required.

But, things have changed. Now, we have another one on the way. DH, and I guess I too, would have reservations about expecting our friends to agree to look after 2 of our children if it was ever needed. I am sure they would do it. Financially it would not be an issue, we have life insurance which would go to the kids/them/however we draw that up, so no financial issues. But one is a huge commitment, would 2 be asking too much?

Would it be better for 2 children to go to New York and DHs brother?

What arrangements have other people got where family is not necessarily a preferred option?

zazizoma Thu 04-Jun-09 19:25:46

Hi Pavlov, tough question.

We've opted for a friend of mine who would take as many as we have. We decided not to go with either my or dp's siblings, and it would be tough for our parents as they are getting on in years.

I'd have a discussion with your original friends, and ask about how many they would be comfortable caring for, before changing your mind.

Northernlurker Thu 04-Jun-09 19:30:25

I need to ask sil about this - we originally asked her when we had one dd. Now we have three and she has one of her own! Tbh I think you friends will say yes whatever - you're removing the financial strain from the situation and at such an awful time living a bit squashed with people you know is surely better then moving to another country with people you don't know that well?

sarah293 Thu 04-Jun-09 19:31:21

Message withdrawn

zanz1bar Thu 04-Jun-09 19:32:21

i picked my brother and dh brother with the understanding that they will work out between them what is best for Dc.

who knows what the cirumstances will be in the future. as it turns out both brothers have since married and have dc of their own so have a good understanding of dc needs.

i did not specify who exactly would have the day to day care as i do not know what the circumstances will be.
couples split up, accidents happen, who knows what.

but i trust the brothers to make the best choices.

pavlovthecat Thu 04-Jun-09 19:37:08

Riven - that is tough. DH had talked about whether the kids being split up was a consideration and I was absolutely horrified at the prospect that should they lose us, they would then also lose each other! How hard for you.

Like you, not planning on dying any time soon, but I think I would like to get this in place and written down, happy to then get on with things so if something awful was to happen, our children would be cared for in the way we think best, with the people we know would strive to give them the closest lifestyle choices and opportunities we would have tried to give them.

I know BIL and his family would love them, but our friends would love them and also raise them in a way compatible with our thinking, and this would also be compatible with how they would already be raising their own son.

DH thinks it would be asking too much. But you are right, we probably need to have the chat. I do not want them to feel obligated.

pavlovthecat Thu 04-Jun-09 19:39:46

zanzibar - that is a good point. I think BIl will always be an involved person, and we would want that, should our friends be unable to continue for any reason (as you said, splitting up, death in their own family, illness etc) I would expect that he would take them.

I know its a low probability, but I think that is even more reason to make sure we have something in place.

TheOldestCat Thu 04-Jun-09 19:40:02

From another perspective, my BIL and SIL have asked us to take on their three children if anything were to happen to them and we've said we'd do it, of course. No hesitation. There would be many practical issues to consider but we'd get through them.

But we don't feel obliged because of the family connection; it's because we adore our niece and nephews. So if that's how your friends feel about your children, like zazizoma says, chat to them.

zazizoma Thu 04-Jun-09 19:40:48

I believe a certain level of trust and intimacy would be required in order to even consider leaving your children with someone, so I would only hope that such a conversation could be possible without weird feelings of obligation involved.

Northernlurker Thu 04-Jun-09 19:44:00

Riven that's awful sad Would they not feel obligated by family feeling in such a case? It's not shoes anybody wants to be in but if a child has lost their parents well - however hard it is, however scary - if they are your family and nobody else is available then you step up and play the hand you're dealt! That's what I would do anyway.

ABetaDad Thu 04-Jun-09 19:46:31

pavlov - this is something we have struggled with and thought deeply about as you have.

We have complex financial arrangements including wills, insurance policies and trusts to provide for the financial needs of DS1 + DS2 if we die. We have appointed a lawyer to act as an adviser to the trustees who are my father and FIL.

It is most likely that parents would share the bringing up of our DSs. Living with my PILs during term time and my parents in the holiday. We have made provision for the DSs to own their own home if we died and the guardian would go and live with them rather than the DSs go and live with the guardians.

The problem arises when and if the parents and PILs become too infirm or die after we have died.

In that case we have a couple who have a named in a formal role as 'friend' of the trust who act as backstop. I hope if all else failed they would bring them up with their DSs who are the same age. My sisters may also be willing to help but their circumstances are not ideal.

In the end, there is only so much we can do. Once we are dead, we hope our parents would do the right thing and our lawyer knows our wishes too so would hopefully bring the 'friend' into the equation.

LeninGrad Thu 04-Jun-09 19:48:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

bronze Thu 04-Jun-09 19:49:04

I have no idea. I would love my brother and hius wife to have them but its a big ask as we have 4 close in age. I suspect they would step up though and we would leave everything we have to them for their care rather than putting it in trust for the kids (excepting few sentimental thing) the thinking being feeding them is more important than worrying about uni later

pavlovthecat Thu 04-Jun-09 19:49:33

zazimona and theoldestcat - the thing is, with DD, that level of intimacy and trust, that is there without a shadow of a doubt. there is abond there between my friends and DD which is so apparant. My friend was there when DD was born and we have been through so much as families together. I think my sense of obligation comes from the fact that the second child is not here yet, so they do not know that child yet. For DD, they would have no obligations as they adore her, but what if this other child does not share the same bond.

I think that is where the reservations would come in. That they would say yes but it might not be something they can fully comprehend until the second child is a bit older. Does that make sense.

bronze Thu 04-Jun-09 19:53:53

"From another perspective, my BIL and SIL have asked us to take on their three children if anything were to happen to them and we've said we'd do it, of course. No hesitation. There would be many practical issues to consider but we'd get through them."

I feel the same about nephews and nieces so I'm clinging to the hope db and sil feel the same way. I'm lucky as get on with sil really well.

sarah293 Thu 04-Jun-09 19:54:18

Message withdrawn

zazizoma Thu 04-Jun-09 19:56:44

I suppose what I meant by trust and intimacy was with regards to your relationship to the friends. If you are considering them as a possibility to raise your dd, you should be able to have a comfortable and honest conversation about additional children. I can't imagine not adoring a second child of a beloved friend as much as the first.

Northernlurker Thu 04-Jun-09 19:57:29

That's grim Riven - they sound very disappointing sad
Oh well - you'll just have to keep looking three times before you cross roads and swig plenty of Royal Jelly smile

pavlovthecat Thu 04-Jun-09 20:13:12

Riven - that is grim indeed sad

Zazi - yes, I do feel I can have the conversation with them, I guess, as the stakes are different, I thought it a good idea to look at the angles and possibilities and think from their point of view, what might they feel, before just presuming. I trust them implicitly, they are closer than family. They are not just good time friends, and this has been demonstrated.

DH and I had initially looked at it the other way around. How would we feel about looking after their son. No question, we would absolutely do it. They are not having another child, but if they did, again no question. So I guess, we need to think of it in that way.

pavlovthecat Thu 04-Jun-09 20:22:26

abetadad thank you for that. We are looking to do similar, with insurance, trusts etc, to make sure there is enough money to ensure they have what they need as they grow, and that would include money for a bigger house for our friends as they only have a 2 bed house. Its difficult to know how to arrange that kind of thing. If they would have considered that they would need to move to accommodate the children. it would not be as simple as the kids just moving in with them as they don't have the space.

FifiForgot Thu 04-Jun-09 22:16:46

We have asked my brother and his wife to have DD if something was to happen to us. They have 2 DD's and live reasonably close to us so it wouldn't be to much change. We are now expecting No 2 and I know that they would take both without hesitation. We have a similar set up to abetadad with regard to insurance, trusts etc and DD's Godfather (a lawyer) would act as trustee along with my brother.

We wanted to ask DD's godparents, but one set live abroad and one set are slightly older and childless and we didn't feel able to ask them to completely change their lives. However, they all adore DD and will continue to play a big role in her life (and No 2 when s/he arrives).

mumoverseas Fri 05-Jun-09 09:50:54

Riven, I'm shocked by your MIL's attitude. Obviously I don't know your family circumstances but even so, to say stuff like that is just horrible. I hope that you have a long and happy life and none of your poor DC need to go and live with the old bag wink

OP, you've made me realise DH and I need to make new wills. I now have 4 DC and as the current will stands the eldest two will go to my ex BIL (who is lovely and would probably still have them) but no arrangements for DCs 3 & 4 who are only 2 1/2 and 4 months. My IL's don't show any real interest in 3 & 4 and I lost my mum last week so thats a scary thought about what would happen if DH and I die shock

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