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What if you have no one to leave your children to in a will?

post #1 of 42
Thread Starter 
My husband and I have 3 children and we do not have a will, mainly because we do not have anyone we would feel comfortable leaving them too. This is complicated by the fact that our son has special needs which require extensive monitoring and many daily meds. My parents are too old and not healthy at all. My sister and her husband have 2 autistic children and live in a very teeny house. They would not be in a position to handle 3 more children plus...and this sounds bad...I really do not like how my sister parents. I love her dearly but we are complete opposites in parenting. So they are out. On my DH's side there is his sister and her husband. Her husband does not believe in mental illness (which my son has) so that is a no go plus my SIL is very young and she is not equipped to deal with 3 children. My husband's parents.... what can I say. I cannot stand the way they parent and also they totally favour my son and ignore my daughters. They also aren't big believers in mental illness and that is a big problem as well. There are many reasons all of those people would be good. So what in the world do they do other than hoping that we never die???
post #2 of 42
subbing cuz I'm in a similar situation and have been trying to figure out what to do.
post #3 of 42
you can state wishes, but cannot actually will your kids to someone. the state will get involved and decide "best interests of the child."
post #4 of 42
Do you have any friends who would be acceptable to you? Any more distant relatives? Neighbors? Of the choices you do have, which would be least unacceptable to you?

Basically, if you were to die without having named a guardian, where your children would end up would be decided by a judge without your desires being considered. You may not want your children to go to your DH's sister, but they could easily end up there if you were to die and she was willing to take them. If you want to protect your children and want your wishes considered, you have to do the responsible thing and choose a guardian. Even if you don't like any of your options, you owe it to your kids to at least choose the one that would be the least bad for them. Court battles and upheaval after parents' death is definitely not in your children's best interest.
post #5 of 42
I would try very hard to think of somebody. It doesn't need to be a family member--a friend would be fine, so long as they are amenable to the idea. Otherwise, it's a total crap shoot as to what would happen and it could well be the worst possible scenario.

I wouldn't get too hung up on the smaller specifics of how people parent. I'd rather my kids were loved and in a stable home whether or not the people parent exactly the way I would.
post #6 of 42
Get a lot of life insurance, appoint a trustee who is responsible, and allow the court to find someone suitable.

Liz
post #7 of 42
Get term life insurance, lots, and choose the person that will love and treat your kids the best. The life insurance money removes issues with small house, low income, etc.

Also, it does not have to be a family member! Ours is my college roommate! Also, our life insurance doubles if we both die within 10 years of each other.
post #8 of 42
We have a a trustee for the children to manage their financial affairs, but our attourney created the ability for us to amend guardianship of the children with a written amendment signed by both of us and notarized. We had this done due to my daughter's special needs. As her needs change, we might need to change guardians. We have also had to deal with the reality of possibly needing to separate our children if our current guardian of choice can not manage both children.

The guardian and trustee are not the same person.
post #9 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by anj_rn View Post
We have a a trustee for the children to manage their financial affairs, but our attourney created the ability for us to amend guardianship of the children with a written amendment signed by both of us and notarized. We had this done due to my daughter's special needs. As her needs change, we might need to change guardians. We have also had to deal with the reality of possibly needing to separate our children if our current guardian of choice can not manage both children.

The guardian and trustee are not the same person.
This is called a Codicil.

Liz
post #10 of 42
OP, I just wanted to tell you that we have really struggled with this too. We have had many, many discussions since the time I was pregnant with DS and there just are not really any options that we feel are great, good, or even acceptable. So I really feel your pain. I'm not talking here about small parenting issues either. I'm talking, we can't leave our child with pretty much any of our relatives because they are truly toxic or abusive, or too old and sickly, or already have too many responsibilites..or would not be willing even to do it. We ultimately did talk to my brother about it last year, but there are so many issues with him, even though he is wonderful as a person, but just so not ready to be a parent, and his live in girlfriend smokes and that is a huge big no for me...so there are so many issues that we had the will drawn up and then couldn't even bring ourselves to go have it notorized and filed. I keep thinking we need to do this, one way or another..but it just pains me to think that no matter what, our child (ren) will not be raised in a way or in a home that is even close to what we would want for them.
post #11 of 42
So maybe all of us with toxic relatives should sign up for some sort of co-op child-placement in the event of death.

I wish I was less serious about that...

I would actually much prefer to will my children to a mama I've 'met' here at mdc than any of my relatives. I'm not exaggerating. We have no will either.

A friend of mine said that if she and her dh die early, nobody will come to their funerals. Under their lawyer's counsel, they have willed their dc to a friend and also added pages of who their children can NOT go to and WHY! She said those pages are dirty, filthy things that nobody would ever say out loud if they were alive, but had to be written to protect their dc.

They are in Canada; does the US not have similar practices?
post #12 of 42
We are in the same boat as the orginal poster and some of the other families here. Sometimes, choosing the lesser of two evils is just not an option, no matter how much someone loves your children. My parents adore my children, but I would never want them to raise my babies. They are verbally abusive and belittle my children. My mother is manipulative and emotionally insecure and tries to get my children to cater to her emotional needs. She was physically abusive towards me and my sister as children and will do the same with my children. They are not an option.

My MIL is older and have a couple of health problems, but the biggest issue with her is that she's so negligent. The one and only time I trusted her to take care of my son, she left a 16 month old in the care of his 4 year old cousin and took a nap, resulting in him falling over the back of the couch and hitting his head. She is completely self absorbed and has never put anyone ahead of herself. Even asking for something to drink when it's inconvenient for her has resulted in her snapping at them. She hasn't put in any effort to spend any time with them or getting to know them. She also has a small pharmacy going in her bedroom with all the different pills and medication standing around and the kids have gotten into her pills more than once because she refuses to close her bedroom door. Not to mention the rat poison she leaves lying around when we visit with the children. Not an option.

My SIL is completely wrapped up in her dd and will never treat my children as her own, plus she just shacked up with the biggest looser she could find. She's even neglecting her own dd, who has huge emotional problems and has been sexually inappropriate with my children. Not an option.

My sister is a complete nutcase who can't stand children. I don't even want to get into it, but imagine someone who thinks it's appropriate to shout at her nephews and nieces, verbally abuse them and do all of that within 10 minutes of walking in the door. Then imagine this person thinking it's appropriate to intimidate and down-stare an 18 month old when the 18 month old walks up to her and smiles at her. Oh! And she does all of that while claiming to love these children like her own. Yeah right. We've cut off all contact with her anyway, so not an option.

We have zero contact with my dh's extended family or mine. My dh's best friend is a bachelor with zero child care experience. While he would be a good trustee, he would not do good as a guardian. My first choice lives overseas and she's expecting her second baby. Her dh would not be willing to take on my four as well. My other friend and second choice, is single and just starting on her career. She can barely afford to take care of herself most months, nevermind taking care of 4 kids. She also has very little experience with children. So, sometimes it's just not as simple as picking someone, anyone, when there are not that many options.
post #13 of 42
Think of some one who is very trustworthy, maybe a friend or neighbor...
post #14 of 42
I have ignored making a will for the very reason that i cannot bear to think what would happen to the children if DH & I died.

The best thing would probably be that they went to live with my SIL & BIL in country Victoria, but they are city kids so I don't know..... that would be a tough adjustment.

Boarding school is also an option....

And living in the city with their grandparents is also an option....


Sending them back to the US is, of course, not possible or desirable.....
post #15 of 42
No one in the world will love your children as much as you do or be as good of parents as you and your husband are to your children. But if you do not have someone appointed as guardian to your children, you have no say whatsoever. Your kids could be in foster care while your families fight it out. Your kids could go to whoever you least want to have them. Assuming you and your husband are healthy, it is pretty unlikely that both of you will die, and choosing someone to care for your children if you both died is not like handing them over to whoever you choose right now. You need to pick the best case scenario for your children in the worst case scenario where both you and your husband die.

It doesn't have to be family. Do you have any really good friends?

We would all like to pick someone just like ourselves to care for our children if we die, but often that is just not possible. I love my MIL, my FIL is great but I wouldn't want him raising my children. They did not parent my DH and BILs in a way that I approve of at all. They have different values than my DH and I do. BUT. They love my kids like nobody else. They have respect for us. My kids love them. So if my husband and I both die, the kids will live with them.
post #16 of 42
I'll jump on the non family bandwagon. Our kids would go to dh's best friend. He has no parenting experience, is single and lives a very different life than we do. But he loves our kids and would make decisions based on whatever he felt was best for them. That's all we can hope for if we are gone.
post #17 of 42
This is not a short term solution, but assuming you have no suitable friends now either - make some. Go to FYT and get together with some MDC mamas. Or join local playgroups or whatever. Cultivate a friendship for this.

This said by a mama who is having a really hard time making friends (and nobody else from MDC in my county), but if you're really alone, you need to make a support network.
post #18 of 42
I'm glad you started this thread but sad that it had to be started. DH and I are going through this as well. We need to update our wills which were created before DH. So far, we only have a list of people we DON'T want our children left with. Can we put that in a will as well? I want it crystal clear in a legal documents the people I would never want raising my child. I also don't want it left to the courts if god forbid something happened to us.

The thought of me not being around to raise DD makes me ill. We want to have a legal document but we also pray and hope both of us, or at least one of us will be around for a very long time.
post #19 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyMommy2 View Post
Get term life insurance, lots, and choose the person that will love and treat your kids the best. The life insurance money removes issues with small house, low income, etc.

Also, it does not have to be a family member! Ours is my college roommate! Also, our life insurance doubles if we both die within 10 years of each other.
I'm going to second this. Get good life insurance, that way you don't have to worry about the financial burden your child would place on a guardian and you can instead concentrate on who would be an acceptable choice.

Also remember you and your spouse are really unlikely to die tomorrow. Siblings and friends are likely to grow up before the worst were to happen. And if you did die tomorrow you sibling or friends would likely step up to the responsibilities and grow up fast with a new family to care for. Not something I'd want to do to my brother but something I can accept. Plus our kids grow up and need us less. My hope would be that were anything to happen to my husband and I my kids would be beyond the needy infant, toddler, and preschool ages.

Like many previous posters have mentioned if there is no good choice you really need to find an acceptable choice.
post #20 of 42
While it sounds like you have some less desirable options, which would be worse... going to a loving sister with a small house and being raised a little differently (but well loved) or your children divided up and shipped around to different foster homes where they may end up being one of several foster kids crowded into an even smaller house and not loved?

I am personally of the opinion that the KNOWN UNDESIRABLES are better than the UNKNOWN UNDESIRABLES. What I mean is that you can make some provisions in your will that will combat against what you already know. As a pp mentioned, you can get life insurance policies that are put in a living revocable trust for your children. You want to make sure you designate a trustee of the estate and NOT leave anything directly to minor children. By establishing something like this, your sister, although she may not raise your child as you would exactly, would have a greater bond with your kids than any stranger juggling multiple foster children. As long as you are not sending them into an abusive family, not designating a guardian would add so much more pain to your children than any damage familiar family could cause.

We have a will and while our designated trustee and guardian will not raise dd as *I* would, she'd love and protect her. Nothing would ease the pain of losing both parents if sent into the system. The best you can hope for is a loving, safe environment. Anything beyond that is pure luck.
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