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  • #16
    Originally posted by Hank View Post

    Based on your experience working with trust and estate documents in court after your client(s) passed away, would you want a judge to have much if any discretion at all in this sort of matter?
    Some discretion is inevitable because that's just how court proceedings work in the law. It's needed because it allows all the parties involved a chance to deal with current situations in a thorough way. If parents carefully plan for their concerns with a good attorney, they shouldn't have anything to worry about when they're done.

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    • #17
      Why is it so important to separate the guardian and trustee? Seems overly complicated. Some one you trust with one of those roles should be able to be trusted with both. I can understand if the best fit for your kids are people who struggle with money but it would have to be pretty significate.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by Lordosis View Post
        Why is it so important to separate the guardian and trustee? Seems overly complicated. Some one you trust with one of those roles should be able to be trusted with both. I can understand if the best fit for your kids are people who struggle with money but it would have to be pretty significate.
        Is the best choice for a surrogate parent for your kids also a reader of WCI (going broad here)? Or someone who might buy several whole life policies with YOUR life insurance proceeds, invest a chunk with their buddy, the high-commission “financial advisor”, and put the rest in risky real estate developments? I have had SO many convos with clients about this topic lately. The readers of this forum who implement the WCI principles seem to overlook that 99% of the world have the same philosophy as the rest of the investing world and have no qualms about betting on investments. This goes for your favoritest bro who was there when you <fill in the blank>. Plus, attorneys have been trained to leave the instructions to the trustee wide open because “you don’t want to ‘tie their hands’ “. For most on this forum (who are quite financially literate), that is bull-puckey. And I understand it may p!ss off the attorney serving my client, but I don’t do this to make allies who will refer clients to me (think about it).

        I wish we could talk - you are one of my forum favs and I care lol. But I hope this at least makes a point. Just b/c you would allow someone the responsibility to raise your children in the manner that you would does NOT mean they follow the same financial principles you would apply to your children’s inheritance. I’ve asked clients to, at a minimum, request the E&T attorney to insert wording that the trustee be a fee-only fiduciary. That, to me, is the minimum standard you should expect. Of course, who knows how much “fee-only” will be diluted in the future. But your E&T plans are (impo) good only for the next 5 years or so then need to be reviewed and, if necessary, amended, codicils added, etc. Life changes.

        Hank - if you have a different perspective, I love and respect your posts and would appreciate hearing from you!
        Our passion is protecting clients and others from predatory and ignorant advisors. Fox & Co CPAs, Fox & Co Wealth Mgmt. 270-247-6087

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        • #19
          Originally posted by Lordosis View Post
          Why is it so important to separate the guardian and trustee? Seems overly complicated. Some one you trust with one of those roles should be able to be trusted with both. I can understand if the best fit for your kids are people who struggle with money but it would have to be pretty significate.
          Two benefits:
          1. The best/most trusted person with finances is typically not the best homemaker. Parenting is a different skill. Also allows some of the burdens to be split. One does the work and one control the purse. This doesn’t have to be for every receipt, request for reasonable expenses.
          2. Segregation of duties! The guardian should have visibility and the trustee will have visibility to an extent of the child’s activities and spending.
          The more light the better. Misappropriation and misbehavior happens in darkness.

          The financial benefit and well being is worth the segregation and potential disagreements. Better to reach mutual agreement.

          This is under the assumption we are talking about an estate that doesn’t make the kids FI. Most with young kids don’t have the assets for a “trust fund kid”. That would mean more of an estate plan issue. The trustee might be a professional then.

          I would think of the typical situation as being a father and mother. You choose one of each.

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          • #20
            is "on the streets" an option?

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            • #21
              Moot now as all 'adults', but we moved choice (and redid wills) as people aged. My in-laws for some time, then as they aged out my brother, then as oldest kid out of college and stable and youngest needed mostly guidance, money, and a home address; her sister.

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              • #22
                Currently our dogs will be in charge of the infant.

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                • #23
                  We named both sets of parents and all legal siblings (we have large families, it’s a long list). It’s set up in such a way that each person has to decline and it goes to the next, but we have told our families:

                  —We think either set of parents would be the best short term guardians, but we don’t want them to be long term guardians (more than a year) for a variety of reasons, including the fact that they are aging and cannot handle the kids til adulthood and I don’t think they would be able to make the hard decisions. If we can keep spoiling grandparents in that position for the most part, that’s ideal.

                  —As our siblings move, get married, have their own kids who is going to be the best equipped would rapidly change and we trust them as a whole to make the right decision

                  —We made it pretty clear that we are not trying to make our kids wealthy 21 year olds and would expect much of the funds that we leave to go towards the cost of raising them.

                  —This whole arrangement relies a lot on good family dynamics that are probably not the norm.

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                  • #24
                    We had in laws of our generation who were perfect for guardians. We visited each other regularly, the kids knew each other and the parents were very similar to us in style.
                    They also were financially sophisticated, lived a lifestyle similar to ours, well below their means. We would have left plenty of money to care for our kids. We trusted them completely to do the best for our children.

                    Not everyone is so lucky.

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                    • #25
                      Moot for us as my kid is a legal adult, but it was my younger brother. we didn't separate guardian (will) from trustee (trust). both my brother. But my deceased SIL did separate them as the surviving parent (automatic guardian) is a deadbeat. Not someone you want to leave with access to the estate. So these decisions are personal and totally depend on family dynamics.

                      kind of related. We were dual military and were required to have a "family care plan". This included naming a person that would take responsibility basically in a moments notice. Think scenario that it is 6pm and the phone rings and the command informs both my husband and I are getting on a plane at midnight. Need to have a quick go to to take responsibility. This holds true outside of military. If you name someone in the will that can't get to your house in "moments notice" you should at least talk to neighbors, friends etc that can fill in until the wishes in your will are executed.

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Hank View Post

                        Based on your experience working with trust and estate documents in court after your client(s) passed away, would you want a judge to have much if any discretion at all in this sort of matter?
                        The probate court is generally not the court overseeing the custody question. That is typically the juvenile or family law branch (although in very small counties that's the same judge).

                        Regardless, the point is that this is a juvenile/family law issue, not a trusts & estates issue.

                        The standard is almost always (I'm unaware of a state which doesn't use this standard) best interests of the child.

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by CordMcNally View Post
                          Currently our dogs will be in charge of the infant.
                          While it might not work out well for one of them, the other might found his own city.

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by CordMcNally View Post
                            Currently our dogs will be in charge of the infant.
                            Why not? It worked out well for Mowgli.

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by bean1970 View Post
                              We were dual military and were required to have a "family care plan". This included naming a person that would take responsibility basically in a moments notice. Think scenario that it is 6pm and the phone rings and the command informs both my husband and I are getting on a plane at midnight. Need to have a quick go to to take responsibility. This holds true outside of military. If you name someone in the will that can't get to your house in "moments notice" you should at least talk to neighbors, friends etc that can fill in until the wishes in your will are executed.
                              As a Clinic Commander I had asked my chief nurse to be our family care plan (overseas). She assured me she would feed my kid GnTs until the grandparents got there. We actually got me (first able to do so) out of service to avoid grandparents raising her for a deployment or two. We had been lucky first 3 years of her life. Our commander had even asked re one mission "Who wants to deploy, the one breastfeeding or the one not?" BTW I'd had to advise a reluctant underling "the reason you are going and I'm not is that they want a GMO for this, not an FP, and (unlike you) all the other GMOs here have deployed before." (Sexism back then. They almost refused that female GMO due to her gender but the deployment made her an enthusiastic, better soldier more committed to her time in service.)

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                              • #30
                                We just picked two people who would be the decision makers. Things can change over time and instead of making new wills - I know my sister and my brother (both very fair, intelligent, and good people) could make the best decision at the time. They are both lawyers as a bonus. They know us - they know the kids - the know all the possible choices - they would do a good job deciding.

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