Writing a will has been on our to do list since DD1 was born, more than two years ago (yes, I'm a bit of a slacker), but I was never too fussed about it as our families knew our plans for guardianship for our child(ren) and everything else was fairly inconsequential.
Well, now that we've moved to the UK, the laws are different here and it is suddenly urgent that we get a will in place ASAP. I don't know how I never knew this, especially having worked as a social worker in child protection for three years here, but apparently if both parents die and leave minor children, the court automatically assumes parental responsibility for them and decides where they should live. What this means is that the kids are taken automatically into foster care, even if there are grandparents or family members available to care for them, whilst the court system runs background checks and does all of their safeguarding children checks on family members before they will release the children to their care. From having worked in the system, I know this can take anywhere from a couple of weeks to a couple of months. Can you imagine anything more horrific than your baby losing their parents and then being taken away from the only other people they know and love and put with strangers for an indefinite period of time?!? I'm sick just thinking of it. I know I might be a bit dramatic in the way I am wording it here, but I literally just found this out and am frantically trying to write out a will tonight so that if something happens to DH and I, I know our children won't be taken straight into foster care.
Now, the guardians we're appointing for our children are my sister in the US as primary, and my brother, also in the US, as secondary, with DH's sister here in England as our third option. The wording issue I'm having is trying to specify that the girls could stay with SIL, or DH's parents, or DH's aunt and uncle, all in the UK, whilst travel arrangements are made for my family members to arrive from the States. I'm worried if I don't specify that, the girls would be taken into care until my sister or brother arrives from the US, which I most definitely don't want! But I want to make sure I word it in a way that says the care in the UK would only be temporary until my sister or brother could get there - I wouldn't want it to turn into a battle over length of time because I wasn't specific enough in my wording....not that I think that would happen, but you never know.
Also, this will writing tonight is just a temporary stop gap until we can get in to see a solicitor where we'll have a proper will drawn up regarding assets etc - I'm just doing an at home will kit to make sure that if DH and I are in a car accident tomorrow, the guardianship arrangements are taken care of and the girls won't have to be taken into foster care.
Ugh, this is such a depressing topic and I am feeling sick at the thought of my little girls being put into foster care when there are so many family members who love them and would be able to comfort them should the worst happen.
I'm not sure if this is a vent or a question really, but any advice would be welcome! Thanks for reading my random, emotional ramblings!
honeydew / 7589 posts
We did this same thing, we have temporary guardians appointed to care for her until my parents can fly in from overseas. I'll look up the wording we used.
coconut / 8475 posts
Well- my brain is SPINNING at this so I'm really unable to give you any help at all. I applaud you for being so urgent in writing this up. Please update us once it's done so I can breath a sigh of relief!
blogger / grapefruit / 4836 posts
Are you having your will drawn up by a lawyer? If not, i would consider going that route. He/she can make sure it is worded in a way that be clear legally. We had some weird stuff in ours too, but our lawyer did a great job turning our wishes into legalese.
Eta, Sorry, I missed a paragraph. Since this is temporary i wouldnt worry about it too much. I would just word it the way you did in your post i thought it was perfectly clear what you meant.
pear / 1799 posts
Thank you for the reminder that we need to do this!!
grapefruit / 4819 posts
Thanks ladies! It is sorted for now - I stressed about it most of the night but finally finished writing the will about 1:00 am. I had my two witnesses sign it this morning so we have something in place for the time being! We'll have a more comprehensive one drawn up by a solicitor (lawyer) shortly - we're in the process of buying a house right now and will need a solicitor for that anyway, so we'll just take care of both issues at the same time.
@cupquakewalk: you can breathe again! Thanks for validating my feelings of being so upset about this - I'm glad I'm not the only one who thought this was insane, especially when the validation comes from a fellow SW!