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Alternative Guardians

 

Alternative Guardians

 

One of the most vexing issues for parents is who should stand in for them as alternative guardians for their infant children upon their catastrophic joint death. Frequently, couples try to decide between their brothers or sisters. Logical, but not always in the best interests of the children which should be the driving force on this decision.

In advising my Clients, I frequently find myself projecting from their indecisions into my own issues and my own daughter with similar consternation. Is the natural father’s brother in the local geography more apt?  But he has no children. Is the natural mother’s sister with like-aged children but in a more remote area of the Country more appropriate? This begs the question of whether other family members and various socioeconomic circumstances might be a more appropriate consideration.  The Socioeconomic influences are not insignificant. If a natural father and mother have wealth and provide schooling but an immediate relative’s brother or sister irrespective of geographic relationship are otherwise hard-pressed for economics, will yet another child in the household result in living hand to mouth.

And what about base sensitivities of siblings possibly not directly suitable for the assumption of a niece or nephew or more than one, or possibly even a best friend with compatible and comparable socioeconomic circumstances might be preferable. These issues are never easy to address but given the most precious asset a mother or father has and the money/resources/assets they have, I suggest, secondary to the best interests of the child this ”who gets the children” issue requires absolutely critical, unemotional consideration by young mothers and fathers.

Again, what is in the best interest of the child should be the driving force and not a favourite brother or sister simply because of the upbringing of the mother and the father. While it may sound cruel to ignore parental siblings as prospective guardians, the decision of who is to be charged with the responsibility of caring for one’s most precious asset sometimes requires harsh but critical assessment. What‘s in the best interest of the child may not be what is perceived by relatives to be in their own interests but that doesn’t matter; it is the child that counts.

But let us not forget, going in circles to define this issue may stall the Will planning process.  In doing so you are causing an even bigger dilemma and mess.

 

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This material is for general information and educational purposes only. Information is based on data gathered from what we believe are reliable sources. It is not guaranteed as to accuracy, does not purport to be complete and is not intended to be used as a primary basis for investment decisions.

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