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October 16, 2009


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I don't have children yet, but this brings up a very good point. I was grateful that my parents talked to me about what the plan was if something happened to them. It's a morbid subject but so much better to be prepared. I would say if your kids are mature enough, let them have a say. We all agreed on a family friend that had children our age and were the same religion, lived in the same town, etc. Fortunately, my parents are still healthy and we're all on our own, but it was helpful to know there was a backup plan, whenever anything scary happen. So my suggestion is to talk to your children (or at least the ones that can handle it) about what they want.

Is #5 because of familiarity, or because it would minimize disruption to the kids' lives? You brought it up in the context of familiarity, but I'd also think that minimizing disruption (by allowing the kids to continue living in the same area) would be a goal here.

In some ways, that's a non-issue for us, as we live far away from family, and there's nobody near here that we would trust the kids to. Thus, they'd be moving a good long distance no matter what. The good news is that they'd wind up with close relatives with whom they're very familiar.

Nickel --

Probably for both, though I think we'd place a higher value on familiarity over disruption.

There is another side to this. You become the guardian of children whose parent(s) are either dead or unable to care for them. Before accepting an offer to become the guardian on record, make sure the folks raising those kids are doing things along the same lines you would.

The sword cuts in both directions.

One thing you didn't mention is to make sure the people you have selected are willing to take on the responsibility. I don't have kids, but if I were in this situation I think I would first narrow down my list, then speak with couple #1 and couple #2 about it before naming them in the document. Hopefully they would not have any objections, especially since it is so unlikely to be necessary. I also agree with Shakela about discussing with your children. I don't remember how old I was when my parents told me their plans, but knowing the plan (both who would be our guardians and who would be the trustee) was reassuring.

I agree with Shakela about telling your kids when they're old enough. I knew for my childhood that if something happened to Mum and Dad we'd go to live with my mother's oldest sister's family. That was comforting, particularly as we used to spend lots of holidays together and I adored my two older cousins.

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