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Who did you appoint as guardian in your will?

(16 Posts)
seven201 Thu 24-Nov-16 11:31:13

My husband and I are a bit stuck. I have an appointment to make a will on Friday. We have a daughter and would like to appoint a guardian(s). I would like it to be my sister, he wants it to be his.

My sister is married, has two kids, lives in the countryside, owns a nice house. She's lovely, her husband can be a bit rude, but really not that bad and I do like him. They parent in a similar way to us.

Husband's sister is also lovely. Single (early-mid 30's) at the moment, rents with a friend in a flat in south London. Has had depression in the past and is very sensitive. Wants kids one day.

Obviously neither is a bad option but neither of us is backing down yet. Part of my argument is I really don't want my child growing up in London (I lived there for uni/after uni for 10 years). No offence to anyone who lives in London, it's just something I feel quite strongly about. Also, his sister might remain single (again, that's not 'bad', just not my preference). I do realise divorce rates are high so who know what will happen to anyone! We have life insurance so financially they'd be fine.

I've googled but can't find the answer. Can you appoint one guardian but say if at the time they don't want dd that she should go to the other one?

We really don't know what to do. Wwyd? What did you do for your will?


NotCitrus Thu 24-Nov-16 11:35:22

IIRC, guardians make decisions about the children but don't necessarily take them in. We went for two guardians - MrNC's brother and a family friend, and a note they should have regard to opinions of MrNC's sister and her son (dn).

Could you not have both as guardians and trust them to agree on what would be best in the circs?

seven201 Thu 24-Nov-16 12:00:01

Oh thank you! My flawed google research didn't tell me that. Phew! We will do that then. Is there a section where you can explain your wishes etc.? Thank you!

seven201 Thu 24-Nov-16 12:05:44

We both have two sisters each so we could do that note thing that they should consider them too. Although my other sister is lovely but parents in a very different way to us and her husband is very weird, so i wouldn't want dd to go to them, so maybe not. Husband's other sister is very similar to his first sister and I don't know why he picked one over the other.

Sosidges Thu 24-Nov-16 13:28:57

We made my husbands brother a guardian and also left our money to them to ensure there would be no financial hardship. I had three children and taking them on would have meant moving home for him as he had 2 of his own.

I have 8 grandchildren and my 3 children have made their siblings joint guardians of all children. In the event of a tragedy happening, the one best placed at the time will have them. I think a joint guardianship is better because you do not know what age the children will be when the need arises.

For example 4 of the cousins are close in age and see a lot of each other. Therefore they would stay together. The others are teenagers, and would most likely live with the one who has adult children. Hope this helps

RandomMess Thu 24-Nov-16 13:39:30

We had friends, I made it clear that they weren't to ever go to live with my family and if they were adopted/fostered our wish was that they stayed together as a sibling unit.

You can only state your wishes and pick adults who you trust would be capable of making the best decision for your DC at the time and cope with the legalities, dealing with SS and so on.

seven201 Thu 24-Nov-16 13:41:21

Thank you both, all very helpful.

snowgirl1 Thu 24-Nov-16 13:43:53

We picked my brother and sister-in-law. We did ask them - I think whoever you picks needs to be willing to take on the role of guardian.

mumblechum0 Thu 24-Nov-16 13:44:26

As a will writer, this is the one reason which people are very frequently stuck on, and they often end up not making a will at all because there is no "perfect" guardian just waiting in the wings.

My recommendation is always to appoint a few guardians on the basis that, in the very unlikely event that both parents died before the youngest is 18, those guardians would decide between themselves who is best placed to care for the children.

So for example, the people who would be best to care for very young children aren't necessarily the best if anything happened whilst the children are in the middle of A levels/GCSEs.

I often also include a clause to say that the children are to be kept in touch with the other side of the family, and/or that other family members are to be consulted about major issues such as residence, education and significant medical treatment.

Cakescakescakes Thu 24-Nov-16 13:46:41

This is what is putting us off making a will. We have a DS with SEN and I just can't imagine how any of our family could cope with that.

IAmAPaleontologist Thu 24-Nov-16 13:46:58

I would suggest to your Dh that while you really value his sister and her involvement that you don't want to take her choices away from her, if she takes on your children then that could affect her decision and/or ability to have children of her own and, frankly, if you were to die next month, for her to actually find someone she wants to have children with. I'd be inclined to state in the will that your sister is the preference to have your children should you die but that his sister should be a trustee (is that the right word? One of the people in charge of your estate and the finances until your children are of age). It makes good sense to have someone from each side of the family anyway to protect the interests of your children.

ThroughThickAndThin01 Thu 24-Nov-16 13:51:10

You really need to make sure they are willing to do it. Would single sister really be prepared to take on children?

mumblechum0 Thu 24-Nov-16 13:51:41

CakesCakesCakes, as you have a child with SN, it's even more important to make a will, as if they aren't able to manage their money, not only will their inheritance mean they aren't entitled to means tested benefits but they could be a target for unscrupulous people who will try to get their hands on that money.

You should think about making a disabled person's discretionary trust.

RandomMess Thu 24-Nov-16 14:11:41


I don't think there is any "shame" in asking people to be guardians and being explicit (we had to do this) - that you do not expect them to take on bringing up your child, you just want them to step in and be their advocate and fight for what is best for them. Yes in reality they may be able to move into your house for a few weeks and provide that interim emergency care but you can tell them you can see that foster care or adoption may be most appropriate for your DS - far better that the have a family that goes to visit/gives respite care than resent a child they feel obligated to look after!

We had 4 very young DC at the time and whilst it would have been lovely if one of the guardians had wanted to take them on, it wasn't what it was about. They all knew who the other guardians were and who was executor and we gave them all the same message about they weren't expected to take in our 4 and bring them up and I had a positive outlook on fostering/adoption for them if we died.

Can I also recommend mumblechum's will writing services - Marlow Wills, gave us invaluable advice at the time!

seven201 Thu 24-Nov-16 14:58:53

Mumblechum, it's you (or your colleague) that I have an appointment with on Friday!

Thank you everyone for your input. I will discuss with my husband tonight but I think we will definitely put both our sisters down and discuss using all four. I have spoken to one sister about it and she has agreed. It's all a bit awkward as the sister who I don't want to use has me down to look after her dc, should the worst happen. But... it needs sorting out so we will all have to just be honest (and polite) about our wishes.

To the poster who said dh's sister might not want dd as she might be wanting to find a partner and start her own family etc., I did say that all to dh the other day. He says she's talked of adoption before, although he doesn't know about when, but I can't imagine a time soon. He really needs to speak to her.

Both my sister's kids are only a little older but of course dh's sister(s) could have a whirlwind romance and star their own families soon, so the ages might be good then too.

Good luck to everyone else in a similar predicament. I hope this post has given you a bit of a prod to get sorted!

Thanks again everyone.

mumblechum0 Thu 24-Nov-16 15:15:36

Thank you flowers Random for the recommendation smile

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