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What do you do, when talking "end of life", when there's nobody responsible enough to take your children?


AimeeM
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My husband is currently helping my FIL put together his will (FIL's). My husband and I need to sit down and do ours, as well. We also, however, need to work on guardianship, in the event that anything happens to both of us.

 

I can't be the only one in this situation... but we have NO ONE responsible enough to care for our children. There are several lovely members of the family, but each one has a "biggie" - and the "biggie", even only one, is usually safety related, or related to the person being irresponsible in one area of their lives (a big area) that would negatively impact the lives of children. The ones who have no "biggies" are either very elderly or we don't know very well.

 

Money isn't a concern. Between the very generous life insurance and the survivor/SS benefits the children would receive, they would be very well provided for financially, and could attend private school in our absence; their caregiver need not worry about providing for them financially. It does add another level of complexity though - we need to ensure that the children's guardian can be trusted to allocate and spend it wisely.

 

Just a vent, I suppose.

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I get it. We were there. We've finally reached a point where the only two who would need care are almost 16 and 12 and their  oldest sister would be happy to step in. But, at one point, we were in the same boat.

 

What we finally decided was that we needed to choose someone because if we didn't choose the choice would be out of our hands. So, we made the best of several lees than stellar options.  In the end, we decided on the relative we felt would be least likely to take any financial gain to increase their own wealth and instead use it to benefit our children. We also felt that even in his less than perfect personal situation, we could trust him to love our children even if they would have been raised differently than we were doing.

 

For us, the most important thing was being very clear on who DID NOT get our children.

 

I agree. It's hard.

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For us, it's not even that there isn't anyone - I have 3 living sibs and dh has 5. The problems are of another nature; i.e., families who already have kids/raised their kids, or a health concern or...etc. 

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We thankfully have family members we trust but I have a friend who has no one family wise.  She has chosen close friends who have happily agreed to take the role of raising their children in case something were to happen to them.  Perhaps a close friend could be a good option.

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Do any of you remember the episode on the show Mad About You where Helen Hunt takes her friend out to dinner and prepares to bestow on her the honor of guardianship of her child and the friend jumps up and says, "No way! We are already guardians for like 13 kids! No!"  :laugh:  I always think of that when this topic comes up. 

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If someone is qualified with the exception of finances, you can appoint someone outside the family to handle the finances. We have it set-up so a financial advisor is overseeing the disbursement of funds. Best wishes with your decision.

 

I'm in a bit of a different situation, but this is pretty much what I've done.

 

I'm divorced, so obviously if I die my children will go live with their father.  He has no money to support them, but I have plenty of life insurance.  I just don't want him to squander it.  So, my life insurance money would go into a trust, the executor of which would dole out a certain sum of money monthly to my ex for the living expenses of my children.  Once the kids reach a certain age, the remaining funds would go to them directly.

 

In the event that my ex and I die simultaneously, the kids would stay with my now husband, and he'd get that monthly stipend (in addition to the money he would already get from a separate life insurance policy).

 

Or, at least that's how I've planned it.  Who really knows what will go on when we're dead and gone?  The best laid plans....

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I get it. We were there. We've finally reached a point where the only two who would need care are almost 16 and 12 and their  oldest sister would be happy to step in. But, at one point, we were in the same boat.

 

What we finally decided was that we needed to choose someone because if we didn't choose the choice would be out of our hands. So, we made the best of several lees than stellar options.  In the end, we decided on the relative we felt would be least likely to take any financial gain to increase their own wealth and instead use it to benefit our children. We also felt that even in his less than perfect personal situation, we could trust him to love our children even if they would have been raised differently than we were doing.

 

For us, the most important thing was being very clear on who DID NOT get our children.

 

I agree. It's hard.

 

This is why you appoint a guardian even when there aren't any good choices. How will the family judge know that your brother is mentally ill or that your sister is married to a violent addict? Not naming a guardian makes it highly possible that person could get custody by default. It's scary, but you need a will with a guardian named to be sure the court knows who you DON'T want your children with.

 

We named a first guardian (who would be wonderful), an alternative guardian (who had no way of taking the children when we named him, but would now be adequate), and then left instructions for what we wished to happen if neither of them could take the children (adopted together to a family of our faith). We have named our first guardian to also be executor of our trust, because we completely trust her. If that's not the case then you can always name someone different as trustee or name two people as joint trustees (which can be a pain, but keeps everyone honest). Many lawyers advise that you always have joint trustees (& joint executors) and make sure they are someone besides the guardian. It's important to name somebody, though, or your sister with the gambling problem could step forward . . . and how is the judge supposed to know she's bad with money? This is why you need a will.

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I'm also in the situation of knowing that regardless of my wishes dd would be full-time with her father (and his parents).

However the situation between siblings, if it was my call, changes regularly with different spouses etc. So I have willed that two siblings between then make decisions of where my child goes and share the care of finances.

 

When my eldest was about 2, we told her that if anything happens to her parents she would live with Aunty X, her immediate response was, "OK, I'll get my hat."

She then peppered conversation for a while with, "When Mummy and Daddy die and I go and live with Aunty X..." We had to drum into her that we were NOT going to die.

 

Way to feel needed.

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We thankfully have family members we trust but I have a friend who has no one family wise.  She has chosen close friends who have happily agreed to take the role of raising their children in case something were to happen to them.  Perhaps a close friend could be a good option.

 

..

 

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I have a friend who is not from this country originally and neither is her husband.  They are from vastly different parts of our planet.  They have no relatives here and their family are not stable.  They cultivated close friendships with two different families here, plus me, then asked all of us if any of us would be willing to take on the task of raising their kids should something happen.  We all agreed, but I stipulated that I wanted another entity responsible for the money.  My father had two friends who ended up raising kids that were not their own.  One was a family member and got his BIL's kids.  The other was a family friend.  In neither instance did they have someone else handle the money and in both instances it ended badly.  

 

With the family friend, he was very careful with the money, and only gave them money for educational or medical situations, besides their monthly allowance, but the will stipulated that the sons could not have the remainder of what was in the trust until they each reached their 25th birthday.  When the oldest reached 23, he begged, along with his brother's to get the money early so they could invest in a house together while they finished their college education.  After months of pressure and cajoling making this man feel horribly guilty he finally agreed and wrote out the check.  They didn't invest it, they blew it.  After a few years, they sued him because he had violated the terms of the will.  They won the lawsuit and destroyed him financially as he was retiring.  It left hard feelings on both sides.

 

With the brother in law, he tended to over spend on toys and other things instead of spreading the money out and investing some for the long haul.  When one of their own kids needed additional medical care, the family ended up strapped for cash, so they used up what was left in the funds for their own kids.  They intended to pay it back but were never able to do so. They even ended up selling the parents' wedding rings and other items that were being held in safe keeping for additional money to cover medical bills.  The nephew and niece ended up without the money for college that their parents had intended, or any of their parents' heirlooms, and it caused a family rift.  Both kids moved out early and were very bitter.

 

My husband and I have stipulated in our will that a trustee at our bank will handle the financial end, but also there are several family heirlooms that are also clearly mentioned, described and photographed that are to go to the kids when they are adults.  Guardianship goes to family members.  They are not the ideal choice (one a bachelor, a couple with a child with cancer, and a BIL that is divorced and travels for work all the time) but they are our best option.  We listed them in descending order of choice and asked each in turn if they would be willing.  Removing the financial decisions from the mix made the decision easier (not easy but easier).

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Think outside the family tree. We have designated my best friend. Be sure to talk to whomever you choose so they know and are agreeable to the situation. Also you want to designate two people in case, for some reason the first choice can't fufill the duty for whatever reason.

 

I only have one friend - she is my very best friend, but her situation is bad (bad marriage, older child who has serious behaviour problem, low income). 

Now, my husband has a best friend (they've been best friends for over 20 years). Him and his wife are lovely; they are also financially stable, so there would be no worry of monetary gain. The problem is that they have one child - and appear to be more than content with that. We have three children. That would be a lot to take on. It isn't a possibility that i hadn't really considered before, though, so I'll talk to my husband about it.

 

Unfortunately, almost everybody in my family falls into the "under no circumstances allow my children to live with these people" category. I do have more *removed* relatives that seem trustworthy and wonderful, but it's awfully awkward to ask that of someone you barely know. Lol.

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Unfortunately, almost everybody in my family falls into the "under no circumstances allow my children to live with these people" category. I do have more *removed* relatives that seem trustworthy and wonderful, but it's awfully awkward to ask that of someone you barely know. Lol.

Because none of our first choices is ideal (and in many cases would probably be really pretty awful) we did also ask a cousin that really doesn't know us well or our kids, but they are financially stable, have a good marriage, a large home, and are in our state (but several hours away).  I talked to her at length on the phone and asked if they would be willing to be listed as an alternate after the other three.  We did this because circumstances change in a heartbeat and we wanted at least one option that might not change as much over time.  She and her husband prayed about it, discussed it at length and agreed.  The tipping point that convinced them it would be o.k.?  There would be funds to take care of the kids, but they would not be responsible for those funds.

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We are struggling too.  We have 6 kids.  That presents a problem because 6 is a lot to take on.  My sister can't take them because she is disabled and needs full time care herself...in fact, if something happens to my mom, my sister comes to me.  I have no other siblings.  We have my husband's brother, but he already has triplets the same age as one of my sets of twins.  He clearly doesn't want the children he has. :(  It's so sad how much he resents them and how negative he is about them.  (He never wanted 3 and really didn't even want 1.)  Obviously, he wouldn't take my kids even if we wanted him to.  My SIL is single, lives in a small city apartment and isn't in a position to take care of kids.  Plus, she is our polar opposite when it comes to lifestyle, values and our faith.  My husband's parents wouldn't want our kids.  They would probably take them rather than see them go into foster care, but they would not want them.  And, we would not want them to raise our children.  But, they would be better than anyone else above I mentioned.

 

Without having put it in writing at this point, we have chosen my parents.  My mom is young enough because she had me young.  Her husband is slightly older, but not much.  He is still working, not retired.  We have life insurance, but financially, it wouldn't be a burden for them even if we didn't.  We completely trust my mom and she holds the values and faith beliefs that we do.  We are less than thrilled about my step-father and would rather them not go to him, but he does love my children and would definitely want them.

 

So, we do have my parents, but we aren't thrilled about it.  I guess the bottom line is no one will raise your children exactly as you would.  But, it's better to pick the best of the bunch rather than risk them ending up with the "worst of the worst." 

 

And, on that note, I need to talk to my husband again about getting this all down and legal.  I've been pushing him for a while now...he doesn't want to hurt his parents feelings.  *sigh*

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You can split up the responsibilities.   If one person is great with kids, but would be a nightmare with handling the finances and another one would be very responsible with the money, but knows nothing about kids... then you can split things up that way.  

 

I would not wait to figure that out.   Get a will as soon as possible.   You can always add/change it later.   

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Our foster daughters came into foster care as result of a similar situation.  Their parents were only children and their biological father's parents died during his first year of college.  Obviously I never knew their parents (although I'm starting to get a sense of them through the stories of our foster daughter and her biological maternal grandfather) but I think it would have benefited the girls if they had named a family friend as guardian.   At this point I can't imagine our lives without them but there was an extended period before they came to live with us and that foster care experience certainly took it's toll.  We've finally gotten to a place where they are starting to have a connection and sense of permanency in our family but there were years when they were in limbo. 

 

I think ideally you and DH would identify someone who you feel comfortable with and then discuss it with them and see if they feel able and willing. If they do put it in writing (which doesn't necessarily guarantee it will happen but the courts usually don't go against valid guardianship agreements).  I agree with others that there is benefit of having your estate funnel into a survivorship trust for the children which is administered by a non family member (and ideally not whoever you select as guardian) until all children reach financial majority.  Clearly most ideally all of this planning never need to be utilized and you and DH will both be around and healthy to raise your kids into adulthood. 

 

 

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This is a huge concern for us, and it has come to a head over the holidays. My husband's brother and new wife were really our only viable options...and when I say viable, I am thinking barely:(

 

They have been visiting us from the UK for the last 18 days. It has been dreadful, but in some ways I am so very glad they came because I now know that I would never knowingly allow my child to go to them. I do not say that lightly. There are so many issues there that we dd not know, even with regular contact.

In fact, my mother (medicated schizophrenic with narcissistic personality disorder and other issues) but now has an amazing hubby who is much younger, would probably be a better option. How frightening is that?

We are thinking that we will set up oversight...a trust manager who will also be paid to actively monitor the situation and call in services or support as needed. Honestly, at least there I know she will be loved.

 

It is so very frightening. My hubby and I have also taken steps to prevent death, at least for some things. We are both rock climbers. We do not climb anything major together, he either goes with a professional guide or a friend on his level. And so on. I have friends in a similar situation who now refuse to fly together, just in case. ( we are talking small private aircraft rather than commercial)

 

I am not sure there is a perfect answer, but I DEFINITELY recommend putting in writing those you absolutely do NOT want raising your children. This was the first thing out attorney suggested in out situation as the judge simply will not know all the facts...but will listen to a notarized (minimum) written letter stating your wishes.

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I haven't written my will yet.  Last year I had a discussion with my brother about him and sil taking the kids if something happened to me. Right now he is not allowed contact with the kids but at the same time if it came down to it he is still the best choice.  A couple things that helped me decide who to pick (and who not to), my brother would mostly still raise them the way I have, not exactly but not polar opposite either like my sister or mother.  He would allow (and confirmed) that all their pets would go with them.  If they lost me they sure as heck don't need to lose their pets too.  He would keep all 4 together and fight my ex if he tried for the teens.  My sister or mom would pick and choose which ones to keep, neither like oldest so both would either make ex take him or ship him off to foster care, they would keep dd14 as a babysitter, my mom would take ds10 and sister would take dd6.  I am not okay with them being split up or with anyone who thinks they can pick and choose them like an outfit.  brother and sil have no kids so there would be no risk of favortism of a neice or nephew over my kids.  He is not the ideal candidate but out of the options he is the best choice.  That said like pp posted above, I have simply decided not to die before the youngest turns 18.

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I am not sure there is a perfect answer, but I DEFINITELY recommend putting in writing those you absolutely do NOT want raising your children. This was the first thing out attorney suggested in out situation as the judge simply will not know all the facts...but will listen to a notarized (minimum) written letter stating your wishes.

Definitely put everything in writing.  You really don't want total strangers or unreliable family members making those decisions for your children.  And discuss guardianship with the people you are considering.  You don't want this to be a total shock and they may have valid reasons for refusing that you weren't even aware of.  

 

Also, if there are people you are close to and care about, but have not chosen to list as possible guardians, you may want to write a letter to them, explaining why, to try and alleviate hard feelings.  Hard feelings can negatively impact your children, especially if you are no longer there to monitor the situation.  With my DH and I, we both have moms who are alive and we love.  They both have lots of health issues and are responsible for others and are much older now.  They would not be good choices at this point, but we were able to discuss this with them so it wouldn't come as a shock.  Even though they know, we also wrote them both letters and expressed our love.  We also wrote letters to all the potential guardians, along with our mothers, that are to be opened at the time of our deaths.  We expressed our hopes for our kids, mentioned specific health concerns that they should be aware of, preferences for what to do with certain items that the kids are supposed to inherit, specific things we would like for our kids to know about us, etc. and we update those letters every so often.

 

One more thing I would like to add, if you consider making one person a guardian and another person the financially responsible person, be ultra careful that they know each other, respect each other and get along and that your financial expectations are clearly laid out for both of them or your children could end up in the middle of a really ugly battle and all parties could end up very hurt or even in legal difficulties.

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.

 

For us, the most important thing was being very clear on who DID NOT get our children.

 

 

And this is definitly something that should be stipulated in the will. Just in case that person, for whatever reason, try's to get custody. 

Now, my husband has a best friend (they've been best friends for over 20 years). Him and his wife are lovely; they are also financially stable, so there would be no worry of monetary gain. The problem is that they have one child - and appear to be more than content with that. We have three children. That would be a lot to take on. It isn't a possibility that i hadn't really considered before, though, so I'll talk to my husband about it.

 

Unfortunately, almost everybody in my family falls into the "under no circumstances allow my children to live with these people" category. I do have more *removed* relatives that seem trustworthy and wonderful, but it's awfully awkward to ask that of someone you barely know. Lol.

 

My BF has three kids (two still at home), but I know she would take my three, but she is like a sister to me. I know it may seem weird to talk to a distant relative but think about it, you are telling them that you respect them enough to give them your most prized possession. Talk about a compliment. If they say yes, then you can work on fostering some sort of relationship so they aren't total strangers to your children. 

 

Without having put it in writing at this point, we have chosen my parents.  My mom is young enough because she had me young.  Her husband is slightly older, but not much.  He is still working, not retired.  We have life insurance, but financially, it wouldn't be a burden for them even if we didn't.  We completely trust my mom and she holds the values and faith beliefs that we do.  We are less than thrilled about my step-father and would rather them not go to him, but he does love my children and would definitely want them.

 

So, we do have my parents, but we aren't thrilled about it.  I guess the bottom line is no one will raise your children exactly as you would.  But, it's better to pick the best of the bunch rather than risk them ending up with the "worst of the worst." 

 

And, on that note, I need to talk to my husband again about getting this all down and legal.  I've been pushing him for a while now...he doesn't want to hurt his parents feelings.  *sigh*

  keep in mind if it's not in writing it means nothing. Even if everyone you know tells the courts your parents are up posed to have them, unless it's in writing the court can do whatever the court sees fit.
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I have an add on question, can close family contest it if you wish a guardian to be a family friend? We have designated a sister, but its not ideal. A family friend seems a better option, especially as the years pass. But we hesitate because dhs family could maybe handle it being my family, but while I am 90% sure my family would respect our wishes with a family friend taking the kids, dhs family would flip out. Mostly because he's a gay man not of their religion. He is truly the best equipped for the job, and I could die knowing the kids would be not just cared for, but would thrive, in this friends care. Dh feels the same way. But we both worry how his family would react and a legal battle on top of losing both parents- yikes.

 

Best we just stay alive too I guess.

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When the kids were little, we chose the most gentle and loving relatives as guardians. We designated someone else to see to our education desires/ particulars.  The person you designate as thoughtful caregivers do not have to be the ones who see to the finances. We have *very* specific requirements, and we also have stipulated who may NOT have a hand in the care of our children.

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Unfortunately, of the family members mentioned, there really is no "lesser of the evils". My mother has a habit of online dating, which she "brings home", and oddly creepy men (like the one she's married to now); Sister 1 is married to an abusive, violent, alcoholic; Sister 2 is involved with a similar type, who is also seriously pressuring her to convert to Islam, from her christian faith, while exhibiting similar abusive traits; Sister 3 is well educated, focused, frugal - but also has a bad "picker", same as the other sisters. My father is a wonderful, dear man, but is married to She Who Must Not Be Named (whom I have made many a post about in the past), and there is NO WAY I would allow her to step on my children the way she has me and my sisters - and my father, dear as he is, has proven to not have a spine when it comes to her.

 

In fact, I would almost rather list them all as "do not allow my children to live with these people", and preference a children's home, than to KNOWINGLY place my children in such situations, where they will almost definitely be abused/neglected/used.

 

I guess it's time to start exploring more removed extended family - as awkward as it may be to ask. I mean, what do I say?! "I know I haven't see you in 10+ years, and you live across the country, so visiting now is fairly problematic, but could you please raise my children if I die?". Awwwwkwarrrrd (lol).

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Unfortunately, of the family members mentioned, there really is no "lesser of the evils". My mother has a habit of online dating, which she "brings home", and oddly creepy men (like the one she's married to now); Sister 1 is married to an abusive, violent, alcoholic; Sister 2 is involved with a similar type, who is also seriously pressuring her to convert to Islam, from her christian faith, while exhibiting similar abusive traits; Sister 3 is well educated, focused, frugal - but also has a bad "picker", same as the other sisters. My father is a wonderful, dear man, but is married to She Who Must Not Be Named (whom I have made many a post about in the past), and there is NO WAY I would allow her to step on my children the way she has me and my sisters - and my father, dear as he is, has proven to not have a spine when it comes to her.

 

In fact, I would almost rather list them all as "do not allow my children to live with these people", and preference a children's home, than KNOWINGLY place my children in such situations, where they will almost definitely be abused/neglected/used.

 

I guess it's time to start exploring more removed extended family - as awkward as it may be to ask. I mean, what do I say?! "I know I haven't see you in 10+ years, and you live across the country, so visiting now is fairly problematic, but could you please raise my children if I die?". Awwwwkwarrrrd (lol).

 

Dh and I have thought deeply about this.  Don't ask  anyone to be guardian who doesn't adore your children. So, folks you haven't seen in 10 years are pretty much out (unless you are planning a relationship ASAP).   You only need to read these boards for 5 minutes to see how annoying --even hated-- Other People's children tend to be.  I don't want anyone with a chip on their shoulder -- or anyone who thinks their own kids are perfect but every other kid has defects-- raising my dear and imperfect children.    'Imperfect' parenting is fine if there is love. 'Perfect parenting' when your kids are seen as Less Than is huge and negative emotional quagmire.

 

You need a good friend who adores your kids,  and a boatload of money. You also need to be clear. Sometimes relatives who think your children a cash cow will file for custody. Be very specific in your will.  

 

And find people who adore your kids. Must be repeated. PS Try to live.

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I have an add on question, can close family contest it if you wish a guardian to be a family friend? We have designated a sister, but its not ideal. A family friend seems a better option, especially as the years pass. But we hesitate because dhs family could maybe handle it being my family, but while I am 90% sure my family would respect our wishes with a family friend taking the kids, dhs family would flip out. Mostly because he's a gay man not of their religion. He is truly the best equipped for the job, and I could die knowing the kids would be not just cared for, but would thrive, in this friends care. Dh feels the same way. But we both worry how his family would react and a legal battle on top of losing both parents- yikes.

 

Best we just stay alive too I guess.

 

In the ideal world we would all stay alive and raise our kids into adulthood.  Outside of that, if there is a will which names a guardian for minor children then usually the courts will honor the parents wishes unless there is some obvious reason that the guardian is inappropriate.  A lot of the nuances of this are state and perhaps even independent judge dependent so it may be helpful to talk with a family law attorney in your state. Guardianship can be contested but again in most cases the judge will go with the parents' decision if they are in agreement and there isn't anything which makes their choice inappropriate.

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Dh and I have thought deeply about this.  Don't ask  anyone to be guardian who doesn't adore your children, so folks you  haven't seen in 10 years are out.  You only need to read these boards for 5 minutes to see how hated other people's children tend to be.  I don't want anyone with a chip on their shoulder, or anyone who thinks their own kids are perfect. Imperfect parenting is fine if there is love. 'Perfect parenting' when your kids are seen as Less Than is an emotional death knell.

 

You need a good friend who adores your kids,  and a boatload of money. You also need to be clear. Sometimes relatives who think your children a cash cow will file for custody. Be very specific in your will.  

 

And find people who adore your kids. Must be repeated. PS Try to live.

My family adores my children! Unfortunately, they are too broken to care for them. If it were only small matters - like differences in lifestyle choices, living arrangements, etc - I could deal with it; unfortunately the probable abuse from their chose significant others is simply too much... no matter how much they adore our children.

How does one go about making such friends? I mean, I have a best friend who adores my children! But she, too, isn't in a good marriage, and also has a child with significant behaviour problems. How do I find friends with similar values... and who adore my children? Lol.

 

I wish our neighbors were 10 years younger. We have some sincerely fabulous neighbors, who are also our very good friends. Tons of them! They are all kind, ADORE our children, have nothing to gain monetarily... but are also all much older.

 

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When we were in that boat, we asked friends and colleagues until we found someone. Eventually, my sister

did become stable and we named her.Then dd grew up and got married. She was pretty funny when he proposed

because she told him to think hard if she said yes because he might end up inheriting her brothers!

 

They got married and they have been named guardians.

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My family adores my children! Unfortunately, they are too broken to care for them. If it were only small matters - like differences in lifestyle choices, living arrangements, etc - I could deal with it; unfortunately the probable abuse from their chose significant others is simply too much... no matter how much they adore our children.

How does one go about making such friends? I mean, I have a best friend who adores my children! But she, too, isn't in a good marriage, and also has a child with significant behaviour problems. How do I find friends with similar values... and who adore my children? Lol.

 

I wish our neighbors were 10 years younger. We have some sincerely fabulous neighbors, who are also our very good friends. Tons of them! They are all kind, ADORE our children, have nothing to gain monetarily... but are also all much older.

 

Yes!

When there just exists no real option? Much more terrifying. Maybe we need a WTM databank of like-minded folk to take kiddos:)

Sort of a boardies helping boardies (Parrothead is amazing!) split off for those with no viable familial options but have very specific wishes for their children.

How outrageous is it when virtual WTM boardies appear more viable that IRL family members:(

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Oh that would be ideal! If DD12 ages out, legally, she would definitely be named guardian. She is amazing with her brothers, even at her age, and loves them beyond measure.

When we were in that boat, we asked friends and colleagues until we found someone. Eventually, my sister
did become stable and we named her.Then dd grew up and got married. She was pretty funny when he proposed
because she told him to think hard if she said yes because he might end up inheriting her brothers!

They got married and they have been named guardians.

 

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How outrageous is it when virtual WTM boardies appear more viable that IRL family members:(

I know. It makes me feel embarrassed that my extended family seems so... broken. My husband has a lovely Italian family, but as his father is so much older, and my husband is quite a bit my senior, all of his relatives are much older/elderly (well, the ones we could consider).

 

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Unfortunately, of the family members mentioned, there really is no "lesser of the evils". My mother has a habit of online dating, which she "brings home", and oddly creepy men (like the one she's married to now); Sister 1 is married to an abusive, violent, alcoholic; Sister 2 is involved with a similar type, who is also seriously pressuring her to convert to Islam, from her christian faith, while exhibiting similar abusive traits; Sister 3 is well educated, focused, frugal - but also has a bad "picker", same as the other sisters. My father is a wonderful, dear man, but is married to She Who Must Not Be Named (whom I have made many a post about in the past), and there is NO WAY I would allow her to step on my children the way she has me and my sisters - and my father, dear as he is, has proven to not have a spine when it comes to her.

 

In fact, I would almost rather list them all as "do not allow my children to live with these people", and preference a children's home, than to KNOWINGLY place my children in such situations, where they will almost definitely be abused/neglected/used.

 

I guess it's time to start exploring more removed extended family - as awkward as it may be to ask. I mean, what do I say?! "I know I haven't see you in 10+ years, and you live across the country, so visiting now is fairly problematic, but could you please raise my children if I die?". Awwwwkwarrrrd (lol).

I'm sorry you're in this situation.  Hugs.   :grouphug:

 

One thing I will share because maybe it will give you some ideas.  As I mentioned we didn't know our foster daughters's biological parents but we were very very loose acquaintances of their dad's business partner (mostly because we are a horse riding family and we and our kids have at different times competed in dressage and eventing and they and their kids have, he also happened to be a vet school classmate of one of DH's relatives).  We really didn't make the connection until our foster daughter ventured into a few horse shows last spring and our paths crossed with theirs.  This man and his wife were a bit surprised to see her with us but also really excited to see her riding and happy that it seemed things had worked out.  I get the impression that if they had been asked they would have been honored to raise these girls and they would have probably raised them in such a way that they would have grown up knowing just exactly how much their first parents had loved them. I also think they would have worked to include the mother's parents in a grandparent role as they were able and I think that the grandparents would have felt that it was truly making the best of an unfortunate situation.  This is where we're striving to be with the girls now but if these people had been named as guardians initially (they never had any legal standing and I don't think it really occurred to anyone to ask them after the fact and I think they felt they would have been intruding to offer) the awkward years in between the death of their parents and when they came to us could have been avoided.  Admittedly there would have been no reason for them to have ever come to us and, while since they have we can't imagine life without them, I suspect this would have been in their best interest overall.   

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How outrageous is it when virtual WTM boardies appear more viable that IRL family members:(

 

We may appear more viable, but from reading the boards you can see that many folks are highly critical of children who are not their own.   So many folks here seem lovely, but romance aside, most of us really don't know each other.

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We chose a close friend.  Plus another close friend to be in charge of the financial side of things.  Not because we don't trust the designated guardian with money but because the friend we selected for the financial side of things is great with money and we thought a team effort would be helpful.  

 

We deemed our parents too old/sick/far/dead and my BIL too childless and hermit-like.  And my brothers?  Oh heck no.  Just not gonna happen.  I love 'em but they can't parent my children.  

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I have an add on question, can close family contest it if you wish a guardian to be a family friend? We have designated a sister, but its not ideal. A family friend seems a better option, especially as the years pass. But we hesitate because dhs family could maybe handle it being my family, but while I am 90% sure my family would respect our wishes with a family friend taking the kids, dhs family would flip out. Mostly because he's a gay man not of their religion. He is truly the best equipped for the job, and I could die knowing the kids would be not just cared for, but would thrive, in this friends care. Dh feels the same way. But we both worry how his family would react and a legal battle on top of losing both parents- yikes.

Best we just stay alive too I guess.

Anyone can contest anything in a will.  That being said outside of extenuating circumstances the courts typically follow the will. If you are comfortable it would help if they were specifically excluded. Also, again if you/he are comfortable stating in the will you know of and are OK with his orientation and religion that would probably gonna long way to avoiding a long legal battle.

They got married and they have been named guardians.

This is my plan as well. My older two are close in age but their brother is almost 8 years younger than my daughter. Those two are inseparable and she has always been like a second mom to him. When she is of age we will make her his guardian. Money isn't an issue and she will be able to get all the help she needs to raise him. My family isn't healthy enough to raise him, but they are in a position to offer support.

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Honestly it sounds like your best bet is to choose a good boarding school with a summer program and a guardian who will not fritter away the money you leave to pay for it. Many of the friends you mentioned, and even your father might be great for visits over spring break or a week or two here and there, just not full time.

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We took care of all of this because our only family lives on another continent, so we had to make arrangements for temporary guardians till family could come get them. Keep that in mind. Otherwise they may go to foster care for _ days and then who knows what could happen till uncle x or aunt y gets there, kwim?

 

Also we put in place a power of attorney for childcare since we have no blood relatives here in case of a car accident or coma or the like. Because remember a will only kicks in when you are dead. What if there is a big car accident and you and DH are in comas and kids are fine and need to be released from the hospital?? You are not awake and cannot give instructions, so who do they call? Children's services.

 

That was always one of my biggest concerns, like now that DH is out of the country for a month (FIL is ill), I feel better knowing DS9 knows where that is and to call aunt X (we call her aunt even though no blood relation) if something happens to me. And I know she would be here in a heart beat.

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We took care of all of this because our only family lives on another continent, so we had to make arrangements for temporary guardians till family could come get them. Keep that in mind. Otherwise they may go to foster care for _ days and then who knows what could happen till uncle x or aunt y gets there, kwim?

 

Also we put in place a power of attorney for childcare since we have no blood relatives here in case of a car accident or coma or the like. Because remember a will only kicks in when you are dead. What if there is a big car accident and you and DH are in comas and kids are fine and need to be released from the hospital?? You are not awake and cannot give instructions, so who do they call? Children's services.

 

That was always one of my biggest concerns, like now that DH is out of the country for a month (FIL is ill), I feel better knowing DS9 knows where that is and to call aunt X (we call her aunt even though no blood relation) if something happens to me. And I know she would be here in a heart beat.

 

This. it's so important.

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ETA: also do be sure to be specific about who may NOT get the kids or access to any $. Really, you are dead, leave a letter if you must for them, but that will shut down their trying to petition the courts. Our lawyer also told us we could put in that they are to have no visitation if we wanted also, or only supervised visitation if you are concerned about the home environment of those particular relatives (iykwim).

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Honestly it sounds like your best bet is to choose a good boarding school with a summer program and a guardian who will not fritter away the money you leave to pay for it. Many of the friends you mentioned, and even your father might be great for visits over spring break or a week or two here and there, just not full time.

 

Son of a beaver. I can't believe I never thought of this.

Logistical question - how would we be sure that a boarding school would have openings if something happened?

Welp, and that still leaves the one child who isn't school age, but I suppose the will could be changed when he's a bit older?

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ETA: also do be sure to be specific about who may NOT get the kids or access to any $.

 

Yes. Our will is stupendously specific. An adult child can't touch certain monies until they are 30.  Prior to 30, all their financial assistance /needs go through a highly trusted person--a person who has their absolute best interests at heart, and as stipulated in our will.

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ETA: also do be sure to be specific about who may NOT get the kids or access to any $. Really, you are dead, leave a letter if you must for them, but that will shut down their trying to petition the courts. Our lawyer also told us we could put in that they are to have no visitation if we wanted also, or only supervised visitation if you are concerned about the home environment of those particular relatives (iykwim).

 

Yes, I think we will have to be very specific.

How does this sound (just tentative):

 

If both my husband and I pass before any of the children have reached 18, any school age children will go to a specific boarding school. We would appoint an "academic adviser" (I have someone in mind for this), who would oversee the logistics there, and act on their behalf for any school issues/academic issues.

If our youngest still isn't school age, we do have someone who would take one child full time (and who loves our other children very much, but has no real desire to raise 3 children full time).

If this comes to pass at a time when our eldest child is of legal age, she would become guardian for the younger children, with monies allotted towards a boarding school of her choice for the younger children, should she still be young and need that back up; should she feel able to do it without sending the younger children to boarding school, we would appoint someone to oversee the first few years and offer guidance. This is something I can definitely see our eldest daughter taking head on - she adores her younger siblings and is great with them.

We do have someone who would happily take them all during school breaks.

 

It seems far-fetched, but I wonder if it could work. Given, after paying boarding school tuition and living expenses, there wouldn't be much left after, for their adult years, dependent upon their ages at the time, of course.

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