Many years ago, when my husband and I were planning for our first child, we did what most new parents-to-be do: we bought furniture, painted the nursery, decorated, set up a diaper service, and procured everything we were told we needed for our bundle of joy. My sister was expecting her first child as well, and our due dates were a mere 12 days apart. Needless to say, our parents were thrilled as both my sister and I had been married for several years, and they were wondering if they would ever have any grandchildren. They needn’t have worried, as they ended up with five granddaughters.
When our daughter was a few months old, we were visiting with friends who had two older children. They were planning a trip without the children and were telling us about it. They mentioned that they were taking different flights. I assumed it had to do with a schedule conflict with one of them, but was told that they never flew together unless they had the children with them. In case the plane went down, they didn’t want their children to lose both parents at once.
After being with our friends, my husband and I decided we needed to get with our lawyer to update our wills. My sister and I had an understanding that we would take care of each other’s daughter if anything happened, but we wanted to include this legally. Years later, and with having three daughters, we knew we needed to revisit this decision.
There was no doubt that my sister and brother-in-law would love them unconditionally, but it was not economically feasible for them to add three children to their situation. They also lived in another state, which would have meant our girls leaving their home, school, friends, and everything they knew from their everyday lives. My sister and I discussed it, and it was decided that we needed to change their legal guardians. A change was made, and, fortunately, was never needed to be used.
Recently, this issue has been raised with our daughters as regards their children. When our eldest daughter’s children were born, my husband and I were named as their guardians. We lived an hour and a half from them, could easily move them when they were young, or move to their home if they were older. A couple of years ago, as we are aging and now live three and a half hours away, they changed guardianship to her husband’s sister and her husband.
This change made our other daughters re-examine who would have guardianship if the need arose. Since these two not only live in the same town, but soon will live next door to each other, it makes sense that they would be responsible. The cousins are growing up close to each other and their aunts and uncles. It meant making a legal change, but definitely made the most sense.
It is important for everyone involved to make sure that plans and decisions made in previous years are still the most viable and correct ones. Lives and situations change with time and circumstances. Do you know who will take care of your grandchildren if the unspeakable should happen? It may be a conversation you should have if you don’t, and maybe even if you do.