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how did you choose your kids guardians?

(16 Posts)
mrsleomcgary Sat 08-Nov-14 17:23:07

DH and I don't have wills and are finally getting round to it now we have dd? This has lead to the discussion of who we should ask to be her guardians should anything happy to us and it's like bashing our heads against a brick wall. Family is out,our respective brothers are idiots and his sister,while a great mum, is struggling financially and we wouldn't want to put more pressure on her,or leave dd in those circumstances. Our parents are all in their late 50s and we fell that while they're all in good health now a lot can change in the next 18 years. Which leaves our friends,we have plenty who would be willing to do the job if need be but live hours away,so dd living with them would be taking away from her home and family. The couple we are thinking of asking have been chosen (for want of a better word) purely because they live closest to us,but still well over an hour away, and would be the least disruption to dd if something happened to us. But that seems a shit reason to pick them iyswim (just to clarify they are fantastic parents,what gives them the edge over others is that they are closest)

If you named guardians in your will what helped you make your choice? Looking for things we might not have considered which may help us make a final decision.

mrsleomcgary Sat 08-Nov-14 17:24:27

(sorry that is full of typos,hope it makes sense!)

WhereAmIGoing Sat 08-Nov-14 17:31:26

Watching with interest as we have a similar issue.
If that helps, a family member if mine lost her mum when she was 10yo. Her dad got extremely depressed and unable to look after her so in effect she ended up on her own. It's an dint who lived on the other side if the world who ended up taking her on. Distance wasn't the big fir her. She already had lost both her parents and her house sadsad. If doing a safe house where she was welcomed and felt comfortable was much more important, even if she was so far away from other family members.
All that to say, don't discount friends who are further away but in a better position to do so.
Also remember that you can change your will at any time so whatever you decide doesn't have to be set in stone. If atm your mum and dad looking the best choice do so. If in 5 or 10 years time, a friend is a better bet, then change the will. The same if circumstances change (eg divorce or ill health) for the guardian, don't hesitate to review.

starlight1234 Sat 08-Nov-14 17:32:17

I have made 2 wills since DS born...Dad not involved. Firstly I had an Aunt of my DS who said she wouldn't be able to take son on as she had struggles bringing up he own 2 children as a LP. She went down as a guardianship. As DS got older I now have a guardian .THe couple have similar values to mine and would be the closest to the way I want my Ds bought up. Also he slots into the family when he pops round.

I think this is the family that can provide a stable life for my Ds. If they moved to the other side of the country they would still be his guardians as I still think it would be the best place for him other than with me

bananapickle84 Sat 08-Nov-14 17:49:18

We were fortunate enough to have family that we trust so we chose them. They live 4.5 hrs from us but we felt that if anything happend to us the children would at least have them who they knew and a safe secure household to go into.
We are also fortunate enough to own our house and have life insurance which pays off the mortgage so if we died the house goes to the guardians so that they have the money to buy a bigger house and help with the cost of extra children.
The basis on which these particular family members were chosen was on the fact they held similar values to us and they parent in a similar way. We actually have family in in the same city as us but we don't agree with the way they parent.
If I were you I wouldn't worry about distance and go with the people you would trust the most with the lives of your children. Especially as the couple you have chosen live an hour away and to a child that may as well be a million miles away.
Sorry that ended up being a lot longer than I thought!!

Duckstar Sat 08-Nov-14 17:54:53

If your only concern re your sister is financial could you make her guardian and then get some life insurance? Make her beneficiary of policy. That way if the worst happened she would have sufficient funds to care for dd.

WhereAmIGoing Sat 08-Nov-14 17:57:58

Also if you leave some inheritance (a house) to your dc, her guardian should be able to use that money to care for her I think.

BackforGood Sat 08-Nov-14 18:19:23

Agree with others, if your only reason for not choosing your sister is the financial position, then surely you could leave provision in your will to assist her in that - money from your estate to extend or move house, money then in trust to support extra expense caused by having an extra child.

However, when we made our will when our dc were small, we didn't specify that the guardians would necessarily take them in, themselves, simply that they would ensure "what was best at the time" happened for our dc. It depends on their age and on how other people's circumstances change, as well as your own.

BadRoly Sat 08-Nov-14 18:27:34

We have specified my brother and dh's sister.

Our logic is that real thought will have to go into the decision making process (rather than "you're the guardian - get on with it"), both families get a say and hopefully the best interests of the dc will be put first.

trilbydoll Sat 08-Nov-14 18:31:02

We have PIL at the moment, will change it as and when they become old and decrepit.

Next choice depends on who is in the best position ie suitable house / lifestyle. BIL currently lives in a tiny flat in London, as does my sister, a child would totally turn their lives upside down. We have some friends who adore DD, they are near the top of the list. My criteria was that I wanted people who would treat her as their own, not some poor relative.

Hassled Sat 08-Nov-14 18:33:16

Your nice but skint SIL - is there a way to fix that? Some sort of life insurance policy where she's the beneficiary until your DD (and any subsequent children) reach the age of 18, which can be used by her to support her in raising your DD? There must be a way to sort something like that out.

batgirl1984 Sat 08-Nov-14 18:33:45

I read on here that you don't have to name who will care for your child, just who will be involved in making that decision. Which helped us. Wouldn't want my parents to think they have to do the job if our siblings are well placed at the time, bur it depends when it happens.

WaitingForMe Sat 08-Nov-14 18:40:00

Firstly, the finance situation is taken care of with a life insurance policy.

We chose my brother and his wife as they're young, good people and smart enough to use the insurance money properly. They recently emigrated and SIL contacted me to say she'd checked the situation and as long as they adopted DS he could not only live with them but get free schooling (SIL is a teacher at an international school). Her doing that made me convinced that if anyone could love DS enough to (almost) replace me as a mother it's her.

It's a horrible process but I'm glad we sorted it all out.

purplemurple1 Sat 08-Nov-14 18:40:54

OH siblings have grown up kids so we don't think lumping them with two babies would be fair same goes for three of my siblings. So we've named my sibling with babies of their own and we have money / property to leave to cover costs.

mrsleomcgary Sat 08-Nov-14 18:56:50

We have life insurance which will pay off the mortgage if either of us die so yes,the house could be sold with the money going towards dd/help care for her. When I say sil is struggling financially yes,that is the main reason but she's 23,has a 2 year old and a step daughter,her partner doesnt work and she works 12 hours a week in a supermarket. They survive almost exclusivly on benefits and live in a council house. So they arent just a bit skint,they are completley broke. I worry that money from us would go towards their living costs rather than DD care.

However,being able to name people who make decisions in her best interest rather than actually care for her may be the way to go here,instantly I can think of two people who would be able to do that for us,friends rather than family but I think that might be better as they would be independant of all the family politics that would almost certainly come up if a decision had to be made.

QTPie Sat 08-Nov-14 22:39:26


We have chosen my (half) brother and his wife. They are chosen because they would love and care for DS and because they have similar views on parenting to us. They have two children of their own (quite a bit older than DS), but they are growing up into lovely young adults and would provide even more family support. I have no doubt that DS would be brought up very well.

To be honest "distance" is not on our list of concerns. I think that we don't have the luxury to take that into account. Brother lives 2.5 hours drive away from us, but DS would have to move and change schools etc.

Other choices would be my Mum (45+ minutes from us but 76 and not in good health, the in-laws who are 60+/70 and live in Hong Kong but could move here, my half sister who is selfish and very un-maternal and lives 2 hours away, my sister-in-law who is dotty and lives in the US).

Do you have assets/insurance? If so, will that provide for your child in tragic circumstances? If husband and I were killed, whoever looked after DS would not worry about extra financial burden.

I think look at potential guardians and think what upbringing/lifestyle your child would have and is it what you would want.

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