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Which qualities did you or would you look for when choosing your children’s legal guardians? Share your thoughts with Beyond

252 replies

AbbiCMumsnet · 14/08/2019 13:24

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Lots of parents often think about who they would choose as legal guardians for their children, with a number of considerations being taken into account. It may be important that they’re family, or essential that your children are taught the values you believe in. Whatever your priorities, there’s no doubt that choosing your children’s legal guardians is an important decision for all parents. With this in mind, Beyond want to hear from you about how you chose, or would choose, legal guardians for your children.

Here’s what Beyond have to say:
“Without a will, the state determines what happens with your kids and assets, whether you’re married or not. So, a will is vital for parents, and Beyond make it simple and affordable to get it sorted online. In 15 minutes, you can protect your family with a legally-binding will - without ever having to leave the house. It’s perfect for busy mums and dads. Trusted by 1,000s of UK parents, Beyond’s easily updatable online will service lets you protect your family, choose guardians for children and pets and leave personal messages for your loved ones.”

Which qualities do you look for when deciding who to choose for your children’s legal guardians? Was it an easy decision, or was it something that took time to think about? How did you ask them to take on such a big responsibility - or have you not asked? Have you changed your mind since writing your will - if you have written a will at all?

Share the qualities you did or would look for in your children’s legal guardians on the thread below, and be in with a chance to win a £300 voucher of your choice (from a list), as well as a legally binding will for you and your partner.

Thanks and good luck!

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Which qualities did you or would you look for when choosing your children’s legal guardians? Share your thoughts with Beyond
OP posts:
BristolMum96 · 14/08/2019 17:36

I chose my mum. She raised me well. I know she would give my daughter a happy and fulfilled life. Not much else matters deep down.

Smiler88 · 14/08/2019 18:18

After nearly being involved in a car crash my partner and i decided to give some serious thought to who our sons legal guardian would be in the event of our deaths. We decided upon my sister and her husband. Their age was a factor- both of our parents would be great, but that runs the risk a child suffering the trauma of losing another parent figure if their health deteriorated.

They have a stable home, decent jobs and a loving marriage, and love him so hed have a stable, loving enviroment.

They also go to church and have good morals, which helps to ease my mind theyd do the right thing for my son, knowing id want them to love him as if he's their own. We have a great relationship so i know theyd make sure my son knew how much we love him and more about us as he grows up.

I simply asked them and they said yes straight away, although i havent made a will yet.

I also promised id do the same for them if anything should happen to their (as yet unborn) children. The thought of anyone thinking in their last moments that their offspring might not be taken care of is awful, so its an issue i think its really important to plan for!

Ribeebie · 14/08/2019 18:33

For us I would want someone my son knows well, similar age to us but also similar values and I would know they would love and look after my son as their own. Also would near to be close to the rest of my family. That's why I want to nominate my cousin - she's agreed but I need to get a will sorted!!

coffeeandbiscuittime · 14/08/2019 18:41

We chose my sister and her husband. They have the same standards/ beliefs/ politics/ morals as we do. They are their godparents ( chose the same godparents for each of the kids so no conflicts). Grandparents are all in agreement. My sister has no kids ( their choice) love mine and are very happy with the decision.
This may change as the kids are older and it may be more appropriate for them to stay locally to where we live now, in which case grandparents will step in. I have implicit faith that both families will do what's in the kids best interests not what is in theirs. That view is based on having a family member who is in family law and is a firm believer of doing the best thing for the kids.

NerrSnerr · 14/08/2019 18:44

We are really stuck on this. We need to think of someone but we have no family who could look after them and we'd love for our friends to stay local near our/ their lovely friendship group but it's a big ask for friends we have known for only 5 years. We need to sit down and have the conversation again.

fish88 · 14/08/2019 18:54

My mum as she is the person who has cared for the kids most after ourselves. She is the only person who has had them overnight so they are comfortable with her.

ItsClemFandangoCanYouHearMe · 14/08/2019 19:02

I would look for someone who had similar ideas on how we raise our children. That would be my MIL and FIL.

My children are valued, encouraged and loved.

picklemepopcorn · 14/08/2019 19:07

We asked close friends who had children a similar age and would have kept the children in the same school/church/area.
Our families were at a distance, and had children ours didn't get on with or no experience of children at all.

allthingsred · 14/08/2019 19:28

It would have to be someone kind & who love's my kids. Someone they are familiar & comfortable with too.
Discounts a few of their aunts/uncles who have never even sent them a bday card.
But opened up to lovely friends that are here for all the important days/moments

ThomasRichard · 14/08/2019 19:41

Various factors:

  • would they be willing to accept the responsibility?
  • would I trust them to love, care for and bring up my children in a good way?
  • would they respect my wishes WRT faith?
  • would they love close enough to maintain as much continuity for the kids as possible: schools, friends, clubs?

I’ve got my mum and dad down as legal guardians in my will.
cannotmakemymindup · 14/08/2019 19:58

Qualities I would want in my Dds legal guardian would be
Age - Are they young enough to keep up with her
Are they caring and loving?
Does my daughter trust them and love them?
If they have child/children themselves will they care for my Dd as much as there own children?
Will they bring Dd up with the same values and standards that we do?

Realised I have a lot to think about!

starlight36 · 14/08/2019 20:01

We are a bit stuck on this one as relatives we would trust are too elderly and live miles away so our children would have to move away from all of their friends and start new schools etc.
Ideally I would choose someone with enough energy, who would love and nurture them abc would hopefully bring them up with the same values we have.

Beach11 · 14/08/2019 20:28

We chose my sister. Both DC love her to bits and she does them. She is energetic and very fun. We share the same morals, beliefs, aspirations and she is always willing to help in any way she can. She is very similar to me which helped to chose her. She was glad we chose her.
If the worst was to happen we know she would be able to provide them with all that they need

helloswellow · 14/08/2019 20:38

We're looking into this right now. Both my parents would love too but neither of them are well enough to look after a young child if me and DP were too pass away. DPs mum is not as unwell but has some troubling ideologies that we don't think would benefit DS. So right now we're exploring our options but nothing feels right.

We are looking for someone who will make him flourish and fill him with love the same way we would. It's important to us that they're open in letting him figure out his way in the world and won't hide him away from certain topics. For example, if he wants be to explore religion, then so be it. Even if whoever we chose doesn't personally agree with it. Its a difficult thing to navigate because you never want to think about yourself dying and leaving your child but it's a very important conversation to have and should we come to a decision, we'd definitely ask that person first to see if they would be willing.

InvernessAdventure · 14/08/2019 20:38

I'm surprised how popular this is as a concept. I would never commit anyone legally to taking my kids on if we both die, and it's not a commitment I would ever take on for anyone else. My judgement may be coloured by an older family member's experience of being brought up by a couple who had agreed to be guardians without ever expecting it to become necessary, and who was shipped off to boarding school and generally grew up unloved and unsupported. I think such arrangements should only ever be made by people who really, really want to step up and only in the context of the circumstances at the time, not based on agreements made years ago and written into a legally binding document.

boptanana · 14/08/2019 20:39

We chose aunties and uncles as they have similar ages children and similar parenting views to us. They also love our children (nearly) as much as we do!

perfectstorm · 14/08/2019 20:53

I've been treated for breast cancer this past year, and one my children is disabled - the other is only five. We've put a lot of thought into who would be the guardians, and our choice has changed from the one we made when we had a new baby, and no idea problems could lie ahead. Our choices are people we've known twenty years and trust completely, and have the intelligence, understanding and commitment to ensure the children's needs are met. They have really good jobs, but are committed to their own children too, and just very decent people. They're very loving, and the woman is one of the people I know I can always turn to in life. She's also very creative and they have all sorts of lovely family rituals and traditions through the year - Christmas in their house is like something from a film! So I can be sure that the children would still have a good, loving and warm childhood, with happy experiences and plenty of stability. We have similar ideas on discipline, too, which is reassuring.

They've been together since they were fifteen, and seem genuinely happy as they were always best friends and well suited. They also understand the additional challenges of my eldest, and I completely trust them to advocate for him and work to ensure he reaches his potential, and always feels that he is loved with and by them. We're lucky to have them as an option, I think. If we didn't have them, I would be very, very afraid of the prospect of them losing us - even more so. There would be nobody else suitable at all.

We've also taken out quite hefty life insurance, left in trust, so if we both die then there would be money for a specialist nanny, and for the couple in question to be able to buy a larger house (with our children's inheritance ringfenced as part-owners). There would also be money for therapy, if necessary, as clearly being orphaned is catastrophic for any child. We are aware of how much it can cost to bring children up, but when you have a child with additional needs, you're talking a lot more, too. We wouldn't want the guardians to have their own lives (and those of their children) completely consumed by the needs of ours, so a specialist nanny would be important, I think, in trying to make what would in effect be an informal adoption work.

These are really hard conversations to have. But I do think that we've been lucky, in one sense, in having our own mortality brought home to us so starkly. It means those conversations have become unavoidable - and the existing informal agreement does need to be written into a will. We need to get on to that, as the only evidence at present is an email exchange!

itseasybeingcheesy · 14/08/2019 20:55

We haven't made a firm decision, but we both have no siblings and only our mums around so family wouldn't be an ideal choice for us due to age. We'd almost certainly choose close friends from our church as it's important that our children be raised in our faith, and have the continuity of their friends and our "extended" family around them in our church community. We'd chose people who didn't already have a large family of their own as taking in our children would be too much of an additional burden.
Maturity and reliability would be a big factor and their existing relationships with our children. It's likely that one of their godparents would who we would pick although who knows when we will formalise anything.

wellingtonsandwaffles · 14/08/2019 21:01

Age and ability to care into adulthood; willingness; similar stage of life; shared values; family or godparent bond.

Backhometothenorth · 14/08/2019 21:19

We have not made this official as yet and are very aware of it as older parents. My youngest brother and his fiancé are our choice as we are close to them, they are kind and loving and would share memories and family stories with our two daughters if we were no longer able to do so.

NeverTwerkNaked · 14/08/2019 21:44

It would definitely be a huge thing to ask someone to do. Either my sister and her husband or my brother and his wife, but it would be a lot for them to take on as my children have complex medical needs. I am grateful they live nearby at least . It must be hard to contemplate if there is no one really suitable.

hatter69 · 14/08/2019 22:18

My lovely brother. Who I know will raise my children in the same way I would. He would provide them with as much love as I do, as much support as I would.

PickledChicory · 14/08/2019 22:23

Me and dh still struggling with this. For us there is no very obvious choice. My Dsis and SIL live in s different part of the country far where schooling etc is v different. Our respective dbros are a bit too young plus single and unattached and live abroad. Love all my friends dearly but too difficult to choose and none of them would bring my kids up how I wanted. So think we would choose our mums although they are older I think they would make good choices and kids could go to our sisters for hols/ they could help out. I know our friends would rally round too.

noneintheforeststoday · 14/08/2019 23:09

We chose friends who parent their own kids in a way we respect - kind, affectionate, and very fun. They have a big enough house to accommodate more, and a wide network of family. So for us it was a mix of practical and more emotional considerations.

KittyKat88 · 14/08/2019 23:11

This is the hardest thing for me - my mum is nearly 80, and both my sisters do not have the right set up to take my girls. Probably my preferred choice would be my favourite cousin to be my chosen legal guardian because we get on like sisters, and she has 3 boys which my 2 girls adore. I just hope if/when I ask her that she doesn't say no!!

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