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Guardianship of Others' Children

Discussion in 'TUG Lounge' started by bizaro86, Mar 12, 2019 at 6:55 PM.

  1. bizaro86

    bizaro86 TUG Member

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    We are friends with a couple we've known for many years. The wife in that couple mentioned to my wife in passing recently that they re-did their wills, and put us as the guardians for their 3 young children in the event they both died. As context - we have 2 preschool aged children, and they have 3 children of similar ages.

    I'm pretty uncomfortable with the whole idea, as parenting 5 kids for a decade or two is much different than parenting 2 kids, in a variety of ways. (Cost, time commitment, ability to get appropriately sized timeshare units...)

    They didn't ask us, and if they had I would have politely declined and suggested they ask the husband's sister or wife's parents. Do we bring it up now? It's not very likely to be an issue, but if it is it becomes a pretty big issue. The law here is that we could decline when it comes up and petition a court to appoint someone else. I know a number of their relatives fairly well, and it's very likely that more than one set of relatives would want the children. I actually think that might be why they picked us, so as to avoid picking between their families...

    Thoughts and suggestions are most welcome!
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2019 at 8:08 PM
  2. DrQ

    DrQ TUG Member

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    If cost is an issue, you could bring up the possibility of them purchasing a term insurance policy to fund the estate.
     
  3. Iggyearl

    Iggyearl TUG Member

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    The wife's proclamation is not an honor - it is a burden. I would try to diplomatically bring up the subject and find the reasoning for their decision. And, as Q mentioned - where does the financing for this project come from? You are potentially being asked to spend hundreds of $1,000's to feed and educate someone else's kids. Getting into their heads would be a good first start. They may have a background motive, but it would be nice to know it in advance.
     
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  4. am1

    am1 TUG Member

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    Very low chance it you end up looking after them. They should have asked but at this point better to leave it the way it is.
     
  5. VacationForever

    VacationForever Tug Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    You should sit the couple down and talk about what she said and that you both do not want to be the legal guardians if such a need arises. I don't even think you need to elaborate other than that they need to look within their family and that it is not something that you would want to take on.
     
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  6. Passepartout

    Passepartout TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    This may be close to the first time I EVER agreed with am1. You could unilaterally will your kids to the other couple, or just politely thank them for their confidence that you would hold their kids' welfare paramount. One thing sure, if the worst case scenario should occur, the other couple would never know what the final dispensation is, regarding their kids.

    Jim
     
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  7. tombanjo

    tombanjo TUG Member

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    i'm surprised a lawyer would put together a will with guardianship and not have discussions with the intended guardians.
     
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  8. magmue

    magmue TUG Member

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    The wife mentioned it in passing?

    Wow. Yes, a compliment, but also incredible chutzpah.

    When DD was a little girl, her father and I were not completely comfortable with guardianship options on either side of our families. We had close friends who we felt would be a better fit for raising/parenting her if the worst happened. We talked with them about our thoughts and had a detailed discussion of how that might work.

    I can't imagine springing something like that on a friend, no matter how close.
     
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  9. b2bailey

    b2bailey TUG Member

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    I'm thinking I'd start off by saying... "Perhaps I misunderstood...."
     
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  10. Passepartout

    Passepartout TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    FOR WHAT IT'S WORTH my family law practitioner wife tells me that should this ever come to a court, the suggestion= or nomination of one couple by a decedent family would be taken as little more than a suggestion. So, OP, don't lose much sleep over it and take it as a vote of confidence in your parenting.

    Jim
     
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  11. Talent312

    Talent312 Tug Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    I wouldn't worry about it. Not only is their joint death unlikely...
    The court would give preference to a family member, anyway.
    .
    .
     
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  12. Patri

    Patri Tug Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    I agree you can let this go. You won't have to take on the responsibility whatever happens.
     
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  13. mpumilia

    mpumilia TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    Though as others have stated it most likely will not be an issue should something happen, I still think these "friends" have a lot of nerve doing this without first asking you.

    Not to mention that I -as the person having my will drawn up - would absolutely want to hear it from my friends- the potential guardians' own mouths -that they would be willing take my children should something happen to me- BEFORE naming them as guardians.

    These people are nuts.
     
  14. DrQ

    DrQ TUG Member

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    Maybe they are "it take a community" kind of people. :confused:
     
  15. bizaro86

    bizaro86 TUG Member

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    Yeah, I asked the lawyer who did our wills about it. He said that here, if the people named in the will want the children and aren't obviously unfit (and we are demonstrably fit parents) the court would almost always follow the wishes of the parents. But he also said the court wouldnt force anyone to take someone's children, and that they would accept alterate arrangements.

    I'm relatively confident here that both sets of grandparents would want the children, so I may just leave it be. It isn't very likely they'll both die, but not impossible either (she has poor health and he has a relatively dangerous job). If it was ever an issue where the other choice was foster care we would definitely take them.

    We selected relatives for our children's guardianship in the event we both pass, and discussed it with them at length. I appreciate all the comments - the more time I spend thinking about it the more it annoys me, as I think they've put us in a really unfair position...
     
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  16. bizaro86

    bizaro86 TUG Member

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    Yeah, as a parent I would want to be pretty aggressively sure that my kids didn't end up in foster care. Having multiple people who have agreed to take them in the event of our deaths seems like to best way to ensure that to me.
     
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  17. magmue

    magmue TUG Member

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    To say nothing about the extra potential trauma for their children if the worst happened - can you imagine losing your parents and then being pinballed from one set of possible guardians to another? especially if your mom and dad had led you to believe that their dear friends would love to be your new mommy & daddy?
     
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  18. easyrider

    easyrider TUG Review Crew: Expert TUG Member

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    We have chose and have been chosen to be guardians of children should something happen to both of the parents. We used our will's so it was legal. I wasn't concerned about any of our deaths but was concerned about the "what if's". Now that everyone has grown up the rewards are that these kids who are now adults having kids are part of our lives. We are also Godparents to a bunch of kids who are now adults having kids. For us, all the parents are alive. I think that is how it goes for the most part.

    Being the designated legal guardian is more about life than death, imo.

    Bill
     
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  19. JudyH

    JudyH TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    My best friend and her husband have no kids by choice but agreed to be our kids guardians and the lawyer put it in our wills. The boys would likely have been sent to the best boarding schools and overnight camps, but that was a better alternative than our really nutty blood relatives. I know they breathed a sigh of relief when the boys turned 18.
     
  20. VacationForever

    VacationForever Tug Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    Listing someone in my will to be guardian for my son when he was young was not even a consideration. I figured that my ex-husband who helped me bring up my son would be there for him if I were gone. It did not occur to me as to what would happen to him if we were both not alive. My focus had always been to make sure I left him enough money to live on for the rest of his life and that is still my focus now that he is an adult.
     
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