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Asking people to take your kids if you die


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Dh and I have talked about this. I did ask my mother and one of my brothers to take my kids and pets if something were to happen to us. They are the only ones I trust to raise my kids how I would approve and that also would have the time to do so. I did feel a little crazy asking them, and we need to make a will. But I consider it relevant. You just never know. I have a HUGE family, so I would stay in the family to ask, but if I didn't have a crazy huge family, I would be pretty much out of luck. I don't have many friends. As in, one or two, and they are busy with their own large families. :tongue_smilie:

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I don't think it's crazy, I think it's necessary. I truly have no clue who would take my kids. The one friend who parents like I do and would be a good fit, already has 5 of her own. It's something I've been thinking a lot of lately.

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No, it's very important to have that conversation and to give the other person time to think about it. Statistically, it's unlikely both of you will pass away, but should the event occur, it can help ease the turmoil and prevent custody disputes (should it come to that).

 

I've had friends ask other close friends. We've asked my dh's parents, but if they were older, we might ask someone else younger. Put it in a will and write a in-the-event letter if there are people likely to be hurt by the choice.

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It is a horrible question to have to ask. I asked my sister and brother-in-law. My bil's response was that I should die soon while they are still cute. This is a really tough problem for those of us without family we feel confident would do an adequate job raising our children. I have decided that when the oldest is 18, I will give the responsibility to her. It is a terrible burden, but she is more mature and responsible than all other options.

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It may feel funny asking but just imagine if something did happen, about the chaos that your children will be in. I knew growing up that my dear Uncle and Aunt would take care of us if something happened to my parents and that gave me a peace. My girlfriend was told by her mom that crazy foster aid people would come and get her. Yeah, she might have been better off if they had taken her when she was young.

 

My kids know that we have plans in place and that they wouldn't even be leaving their home, the couple lives next door and they have told us that they would must move in here and keep things status quo until the kids moved out.

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We thought it was important enough to get over our squeamishness about it. We asked our close friends who are share our values to act as temporary guardians (in state) until out-of-state family (also specifically designated in our will) could arrive and take custody.

 

We listed three families in our will in order of proximity and availability.

 

Family 1 - Lives in state and can take immediate custody of children in case of death therefore avoiding the foster care system.

Family 2 - Out-of-state family (older) who if still physically able can take custody.

Family 3 - Out-of-state family (younger) if older family members are no longer physically able.

 

The directions are very clear and we did speak with all three families before putting them in our will. All three families also have a copy of our will.

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we had dfs we asked. We didnt' like our family options. this family was a hsing family, etc. we had kids the same ages. and many of the same outlooks on a variety of things.

 

 

I also wanted the grandparents to be the grandparents in that worst of situations. So that my boys would still have those that would love them and dote on them.

 

my youngest is now 16 almost 17 but we have 2 years of school here left. We probably need to talk about what we would do. Our college boy has moved back to the area. But honestly I really don't know what we would do. Guess we should talk about it.

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We have not yet dealt with this. Unfortunately, there is a big snag. If I die, my DS would go to his BD. We are going to try and deal with this legally (and see if there is a way we could prevent this...:glare:) BD has said that he would "examine the situation" (aka after I am dead.... :glare:) on where he would "like" my son to live. :glare:

 

it's a situation we are working on.... :glare:

 

Of course, we don't have anyone who could watch our children. My cousin originally agreed awhile back, but she has since had a mental breakdown, and I've not heard from her in over a year. Oy.

 

I'm just going to pray for health and long life.... :D

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We are the guardians for 2 sets of friends because they didn't want their families raising their kids. But, we are really good friends. It wasn't weird at all.

 

For us, we have friends to help in the short-term, people who will come to collect everything and family members who will eventually take the kids.

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I haven't asked my inlaws to take my kids but I'm sure that they would. My kids see them every weekend and have for the past almost eight years. They live in the same town and know my kids well. My parents on the other hand, are divorced and live 700 miles away and see my kids much less often. For these reasons and others, I would want my kids to go to my inlaws if my husband and I were to die unexpectedly. I've mentioned this to at least one sibling but I should probably bring it up to my inlaws. I would honest be worried more that my mother would attempt to get custody of them than that no one would be able to take them. (My mother isn't a total nut job or anything, but I really really don't want my kids raised where she lives.)

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It's a hard conversation, but you just have to do it. If there is anyone at all in your extended family or in your dh's extended family that you would not want raising your children, then you need to have a will that names a guardian (and an alternate guardian, second alternate, etc). I'm amazed at how many people with small children do not have a will in place. The last thing you want is chaos for your children in the aftermath of losing their parents and then a judge deciding custodial arrangements at the end of the day.

 

We do not have a lot of family, but we are very fortunate that the one person we do have (my sister) is actually in town so she could immediately take custody if something happened. We have also made sure that our children know what happens if we die. We don't want to think it could happen to us, but the reality is that it could.

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Does everyone feel like this is a crazy question to ask someone? It's hard for me to even think about.

 

And, you if don't have family that you would want raising your kids, who do you ask??

 

For us, it's very good friends. Two different sets now. First it was friends that dh carpooled to his graduate degree with and her husband. It was them for years. We also share Godchildren with them - dh is Godparent to one of theirs and they are Godparents to one of ours.

 

Now it's a different set of good friends - they are still Godparents to one of ours. But these are the people that led dh and I to Christ. We get together with them for dinner every week. Very good friends.

 

After oldest dd graduates college, we'll ask her if we can change it to her. We've talked to her about it in the last couple years and she very much wants to graduate college first.

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Thanks for the reminder. We've been meaning to make a will since DS was born but haven't done it yet. We think our choice for guardian would be DH's sister and bil. Since their two girls are 2 & 4 years older than DS and they are done having kids, the ages/genders would probably work out well. They are homeschooling as well, so that would be a great bonus. I put my mom as the beneficiary of my small retirement account from when I was working so she and my dad would be able to afford to see DS more regularly if DH and I were to die.

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We selected dh's sister and husband as our kids' godparents as soon as we found out we were pregnant (I do NOT want them raised by my family!) They were with us when we stood at the front of our church and had our sons dedicated (not the same as infant baptism.) But we found out not too long ago that sil was lying, church "really isn't [her] thing," she was only doing it because she felt "pressured" by the family. We found that out after she separated from her husband because of infidelity on her part. Dh and I were livid that she lied to us and stood up in front of our church and promised to raise our sons to love and serve God is something happened to us, when she didn't really "believe in all that."

 

So we asked dh's other sister, who is unmarried, but who's faith we have complete confidence in, to be their godmother. We really need to make a will making it official, though.

 

I don't think it's weird to ask, and I think it is important to have a plan in case something happens.

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I do not think it's crazy at all to ask someone. My mother's parents were both killed in a car accident when my mother was 15. Her older brother was 19 which, at the time, was not adulthood. There was talk of her going into the foster care system, but her father's parents (who lived next door and across the street) stepped in and convinced the state to give her to them. After that the whole family kind of finished raising her, really. Anyway, because of that situation we made sure to ask and designate who would get our kids if we both die (my sister and BIL or my parents depending on how old my parents are and what they decide together - since we live with my parents currently that would be the least disruptive for my children at this time). I'm not sure who I'd pick if we didn't have family we'd trust them with. We really don't have any friends with the means/ability AND that we trust completely with raising our kids.

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Here is why you should make arrangements ahead of time:

 

My grandmother's parents died when she was 9. The aunts lined up the kids in the yard and argued over which aunts would get which kids. Nobody wanted the oldest, but they all wanted the baby. So, they agreed the aunt who got the baby would have to take the oldest. All of this happened in front of the kids. Half of them were treated like maids, most were never treated like natural children. :(

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I think it may be uncomfortable, but it's really necessary. In Writing (your will). I believe this was one of the main original responsibilities of a godparent.

 

We originally asked a relative, but because of the extremely disturbing direction they've taken (religiously) we have more recently asked friends. Along with the designation, we felt it was also our responsibility to carry plenty of life insurance to cover living expenses and college for the kids.

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It's not an easy thing to think about or ask but it is necessary. It's especially difficult when you are thinking about who could/would be able/willing to take several children.

 

We currently have my parents listed as the guardian for our children if anything should happen to dh and me. This was done more than 10 years ago so we really need to think about this again. Everyone is 10 years older and I have several married sisters who have families now.

 

We are guardians for one of my sister's children if anything happens to them.

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I think planning for a person's end of life is a very difficult thing to do. It's also very smart and compassionate.

 

We asked certain people to look after our kids several years ago. After they agreed, we had it written into our wills/trusts/power of attorney, etc and gave them copies. It does give me peace of mind to know that if something happens to both of us, someone will immediately show up to take care of the kids and that our life insurance will cover the costs of raising them. It's very reassuring.

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We chose friends. When we talked to them the first time, we told them our wishes and asked them to think about it, not answer right away. We didn't want them to feel pressured to decide on the spot. When they said yes, we gave them further instructions. We also gave them a written copy of our will. When we had another child, we checked in again- to make sure they were okay with more. :001_smile:

 

The hard part was telling our parents they weren't chosen. :001_huh: We had heard that grandparents could "fight for the kids". We wanted them to know who would get the kids so they weren't surprised, and would have years to accept the decision. :tongue_smilie: We also wrote out specifically in our will which relatives could have unsupervised visits and which could not. We were very explicit in explaining why. We were told this was important to do, and would decrease the likelihood that a judge would overrule our decision and give the kids to them.

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We picked someone when our oldest two were really little, they agreed, and we verbally told all relatives, but haven't had any legal documents written up yet.

 

For those of you that have, is there some kind of arrangement in there for any financial assets? Do the guardians become trustees? Does someone else? Do they get the money to help raise the kids? Is all money held for the kids? (We'd like something in between: is that something that can be done? They get a reasonable amount so that raising our kids isn't a hardship on them, but some is set aside for the kids to go to college, etc.?)

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Here is why you should make arrangements ahead of time:

 

My grandmother's parents died when she was 9. The aunts lined up the kids in the yard and argued over which aunts would get which kids. Nobody wanted the oldest, but they all wanted the baby. So, they agreed the aunt who got the baby would have to take the oldest. All of this happened in front of the kids. Half of them were treated like maids, most were never treated like natural children. :(

 

What a horrible story.

 

Unfortunately, that sort of stuff is still happening today, but now it involves judges, lawyers, and $$$$$$. I know someone whose husband endured a horrible custody battle after the death of his parents. The paternal aunt and uncle had been named as guardians in his parents' wills, but after his father died they didn't maintain contact with them. His widowed mother told a maternal aunt and uncle that they were now to be the guardians, but failed to update her will. When mom died, the paternal aunt and uncle turned up to claim the children even though the children barely knew them. There was a huge court battle that dragged out for years before a judge upheld the original wills over what the mother said verbally after her husband's death.

 

It is not enough to just to ask someone to be your guardian. You have to put it in writing. If circumstances change, don't just say that now it's going to be different . . . you must put it in writing and destroy the previous wills. All sorts of trouble can result when wills aren't updated or when family is asked to be guardian and isn't told when the parents change their minds.

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Luckily for us, we have tons of family to choose from, and both my parents and my dh's parents are still young (50 or younger). Right now, they'd go to my dh's parents, and if they aren't able, they'd go to my parents or my younger sister who was recently married. She loves children and is about to have one of her own and would be great to them.

 

Right now, my dh and I are also the ones who would get our younger siblings who are still at home. Dh's youngest sister is graduating soon, so this won't be an issue anymore, but my youngest brother is still only 13, so I'd get both my younger brother and sister. I have a copy of my parent's will and all their important papers in case anything ever happened.

 

I can't imagine how hard it would be if someone was outside of the family or if I didn't think my family would do a good job. As it is, we've just mentioned in passing to both of our parents what our plans are and they are in complete agreement with us. We have a very basic will, but for the most part, I can trust our family.

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We picked someone when our oldest two were really little, they agreed, and we verbally told all relatives, but haven't had any legal documents written up yet.

 

For those of you that have, is there some kind of arrangement in there for any financial assets? Do the guardians become trustees? Does someone else? Do they get the money to help raise the kids? Is all money held for the kids? (We'd like something in between: is that something that can be done? They get a reasonable amount so that raising our kids isn't a hardship on them, but some is set aside for the kids to go to college, etc.?)

 

Naming a trustee to handle your children's inheritance is separate from naming a guardian. You can choose the same person to handle both or you can choose someone different to handle the trust. We have the same person named as guardian and to handle the trust. Most lawyers wouldn't advise that, because it's better to have lots of eyes on the money. Our will creates a trust if both dh and I die, names a trustee to handle the money, and stipulates when and how the money will be distributed to our children. Our life insurance names the trust as our secondary beneficiary, so that the life insurance can be handled within the trust.

 

Every state has their own quirks in regards to estate planning, probate, and trusts, so it's very important to have a local lawyer help you in drawing up documents. Most lawyers will draw up all the estate documents as a package deal for a set price (wills, living wills, power-of-attorney, medical health care power-of-attorney).

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No, it's not a crazy question. We have gone through this twice. We wrote an original will. Last year we updated it and updated our guardian choices at the same time.

 

We have no family that we want to have our children. This time we asked two families close to us to be our primary and secondary guardians.

 

We chose based on our priorities. The two families are different, but both are Christian, are close to our kids, and currently have two-parent homes. Those were not our only criteria, but that should give you some idea how we think.

 

We have not informed our families or children of our choices. In a few years, we might update our choices again since some of our kids will turn 18.

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We picked someone when our oldest two were really little, they agreed, and we verbally told all relatives, but haven't had any legal documents written up yet.

 

For those of you that have, is there some kind of arrangement in there for any financial assets? Do the guardians become trustees? Does someone else? Do they get the money to help raise the kids? Is all money held for the kids? (We'd like something in between: is that something that can be done? They get a reasonable amount so that raising our kids isn't a hardship on them, but some is set aside for the kids to go to college, etc.?)

 

In our case, yes. It has changed over time. What seemed best financially 10 years ago has changed. There is mention of our guardians needing to buy a new car, and possibly wanting a larger home. It wouldn't be fair to set all of the money aside for our children's future. In the meantime they have extra mouths to feed, extra bodies to clothe, impending tooth fairy visits. ;)

 

If you are worried about you guardian's financial decisions, you could appoint someone else to oversee the money.

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We have not informed our families or children of our choices.

 

I can totally understand why you wouldn't want to tell your family they weren't chosen, but here is something to consider.

 

We were told by a family court judge that families often challenge the placement when children are left to someone outside the family. They can and sometimes do win, unless they are proven unfit. :001_huh: She said it was important to list, in writing, the reasons family members weren't chosen. She said it was also helpful for grandparents to know the decision ahead of time. Having family members know your intentions can also get your kids to their new home more quickly.

 

Talk about awkward conversations. :001_huh::tongue_smilie:

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I don't think it's a crazy question. It's actually a very responsible thing to ask, and an honor to be asked.

 

We originally asked my best friend and her husband to take our children. However, with DS's issues (Asperger's), we felt that they would be better with my sister and her husband, so we changed it. My friend was fine with that decision, and completely understood. (I didn't originally ask my sister because she had 4 small children and some stresses in her life that I didn't want to add to.)

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I can totally understand why you wouldn't want to tell your family they weren't chosen, but here is something to consider.

 

We were told by a family court judge that families often challenge the placement when children are left to someone outside the family. They can and sometimes do win, unless they are proven unfit. :001_huh: She said it was important to list, in writing, the reasons family members weren't chosen. She said it was also helpful for grandparents to know the decision ahead of time. Having family members know your intentions can also get your kids to their new home more quickly.

 

Talk about awkward conversations. :001_huh::tongue_smilie:

 

Good point. We only have one surviving parent, and she is already almost 75 years old. But I'm sure she would be upset about someone outside the family getting the kids. Our siblings are all unmarried, non-Christians who do not live in our area. I'm sure none of them would contest the issue, but we could easily inform them now.

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We picked someone when our oldest two were really little, they agreed, and we verbally told all relatives, but haven't had any legal documents written up yet.

 

For those of you that have, is there some kind of arrangement in there for any financial assets? Do the guardians become trustees? Does someone else? Do they get the money to help raise the kids? Is all money held for the kids? (We'd like something in between: is that something that can be done? They get a reasonable amount so that raising our kids isn't a hardship on them, but some is set aside for the kids to go to college, etc.?)

 

We have a trust. Our guardians are also our trustees. We originally were going to do something else, but our attorney said it becomes a huge hassle to deal with the money with more people involved.

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Does everyone feel like this is a crazy question to ask someone? It's hard for me to even think about.

 

Nope. It's one of the most sensible questions it is possible to ask.

 

My brother would take ours, and their godfather has us write into our wills that he's to be consulted about major decisions. He hasn't spoken to me in several years and rarely speaks to dh so that'd be a shock for him! I daresay my "anarchist" brother would go along his merry way, glad to have one less person trying to tell him how to raise kids they don't know. :p The poor munchkins would probably turn out to be political activists but there are worse things. At least he'd keep them away from the relatives I don't want them anywhere near because he doesn't like the same people. :D

 

Rosie

Edited by Rosie_0801
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I think it may be uncomfortable, but it's really necessary. In Writing (your will). I believe this was one of the main original responsibilities of a godparent.

 

We originally asked a relative, but because of the extremely disturbing direction they've taken (religiously) we have more recently asked friends. Along with the designation, we felt it was also our responsibility to carry plenty of life insurance to cover living expenses and college for the kids.

 

We felt the same way. As soon as our first son was born we had a will drawn up to designate what would happen to ds (and our future children) if dh and I died. The attorney recommended that there be 3 choices listed as life circumstances change.

 

Six kids later we have realized that it would be a unique family that could take all 6 of our dc if we died. So, we have spoken with members of our church community with the thought that if they HAD to be raised in separate homes, at least they would be raised in our Faith and in our community together. We also have made sure that there is plenty of life insurance for all of the dc to be cared for.

 

Of course, there are some things that you really cannot know ahead of time nor plan for. It comes down, for us, faith that our loving God would ultimately care for our dc if He chose to take us from this world, and that He would work out the best scenario for our dc and their individual needs. I have peace in this.

 

Kim

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I don't think it's crazy. We asked my husband's brother and sister-in-law years ago because they seemed the most physically (young enough, good enough health) and financially fit (can afford to take on kids). Fortunately they said yes, it wasn't even that hard of a conversation. There's no-one else I could even imagine asking at this point or would feel comfortable with or close enough to, so hopefully nothing happens to us AND them!

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When my goddaughter was born 13 years ago, her parents (my best friend and her husband) asked me to take her if they died. They wrote it in their wills when I agreed. They have no family they could rely on for it. When I got married a few years after that, they asked my husband if he would mind joining me in taking their daughter if something happened. He agreed, so they kept their wills the same. I would be the guardian. They just wanted to make sure dh was okay with it.

 

When we re-wrote our wills after our second son was born, we asked dh's brother and his wife to take our kids if something happened to us. They were glad to accept, but if they hadn't, I would have asked one of my sisters.

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We asked some dear Christian friends to take our children if we were to pass away and drew up some papers on our own. We all had signed copies. We very much wanted our children to be raised in a Christian family and none of our family members were Christian.

 

However, a couple of years ago, we realized our faith wasn't reality and we are no longer Christians. We definitely didn't want our children raised by our Christian friends, and so we told our friends we were very grateful for their willingness to take our children, but that we had decided that upon our deaths the children would go live with my brother and sister-in-law (who the children actually know and love) and our friends were perfectly understanding.

 

So, we drew up some new papers.

 

So, no it doesn't not seem weird at all to think about who you want loving and rearing your children should you pass away while they're minors. I think it's wise to recognize our mortality and make provisions for our children in the case of our deaths.

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I am so glad my eldest is over 21 so legally can be guardian to her brothers. We have no friends that are so close, older grandparents, distant sisters and brother....odd local brother-in-law....so, well, we just need to live forever. Something we really need to attend to. Thanks for the reminders.

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I have listed a guardian and two back-ups. I have made it clear the guardian's job is to make sure child is adopted well. Does NOT have to be family, does not have to be non-family. I cannot forsee all possible situations, therefore I will rely on people I trust to make decent decisions in the future. I am confidant they will.

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I haven't read all of the replies, but we are in a situation where we don't have anyone to ask. :/

 

Our ILs are not an option because they aren't exactly young chickens and my FIL has extensive health problems. They are already raising one of my nieces. Shoud something happen to FIL, we just don't really feel like MIL would be emotionally capable enough to care for our children properly AND we don't like how manipulative she can be, etc.

 

One of my SILs is not a Christian (which is number 1 on our list of qualifications) and she and her husband are "separated" but living in the same house. She has a horrid temper as well.

 

My other SIL is in the middle of a divorce and her two boys are NOT children I would want my children to have to be around all the time.

 

On my side, my brother is only 19 with a 2 year old of his own, separated from his wife (who is NOT that child's mother and is currently pregnant by him and he isn't in contact with her:glare:) and still living at home with my mother without a job.

 

My mom and stepfather are not an option because my stepfather has a known drug problem.

 

We don't have any close friends really and the people we do know already have several children themselves. It is a very hard situation to be in. Prayerfully, nothing will happen to both of us at the same time.

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We have a couple (not family) designated as first choice and then a back-up if they are unable to take dd for whatever reason. We also have the first couple as the financial trustee but if the second couple were to get her a relative would be the trustee. The first couple is older and more financially stable and responsible. All of this is written in our will and we added letters to the will as an addendum addressing family to explain how we made our decision.

 

Also, our life insurance beneficiaries were changed to reflect this because life insurance doesn't have to pass through your estate if beneficiaries are designated.

 

We made the decision prayerfully after considering who would provide a similar spiritual/religious upbringing, homeschooling and financial stability were also considerations.

 

I fell strongly that you need to have a will when you have children. There are affordable options and I can't imagine letting someone else decide who would care for dd.

 

Also, the conversation doesn't have to be awkward. We have discussed it with those we designated and had the conversation with 2 family members and one friend who designated us.

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