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Setting Up Will In Us With No Family Around

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous in Parenting' started by sanjuruby3, Jun 30, 2021.

  1. sanjuruby3

    sanjuruby3 Gold IL'ite

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    from both sides, we are the only one who left India and settled in US as citizens. We do not have any near or far relative who is n US ( or any other country in fact, with choice)
    My side siblings are settled in govt jobs and educated ( know english). My H side, his siblings are do not know language much and have health issues too (they are aged).
    We were thinking whom to add to our will in case of unfortunate event for our kids. Also we are setting up trusts.
    We all are US citizens. Lawyer suggested to have some friend in local zone for obvious reasons but i understand it is a big responsibility. After 1/2/3 days, other person will start losing patience with kids and friends can move also.
    So I am thinking to give my brother's name ( married, no kids yet, settled in job) . I know he may not be available right away. But for all the reasons, i trust him more than anything when it comes to kids.

    What is your advice?

  2. Rihana

    Rihana Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Are you still looking for inputs? If so:
    This is a fairly common situation. The good thing is that both parents passing away before the older child turns 18 is only a very remote possibility.
    A few guidelines:
    1) In the will, you will specify the name(s) of the executor (person who will implement the instructions in the will and settle the financial stuff like bills, tax returns). This executor should ideally live within commutable distance or at least the same state as you.

    2) In the will, you will specify a guardian (option 1, option 2 ...) for children under 18. Guardian gets physical custody of the children. The guardian can be living in another country. You will have to look into how that person will get legal guardianship of the US citizen children and permission to take them out of the country.

    3) The executor has total control over the financial matters. The guardian will sort of be dependent on the executor for money to take care of the children's expenses.

    4) It is recommended that people choose the same person as the executor of the will and the guardian of the children to avoid disagreements. It is not fair to make the guardian ask the executor for money. In cases where they cannot be the same person, the lawyer will help add clauses and instructions that make it harder for the executor to be bossy.

    5) All the above is about the will. The trust is a completely different thing. This also has an executor who better be a local person. You could make a friend the executor of the trust. They will get paid for their efforts. You can also assign a fixed amount in your will to them. Maybe $50,000. However, this fixed amount cannot be made conditional to them serving as the trust's executor. : ) The reason is that you need to keep the will and trust conditions as simple as possible. The will's executor and the trust's executor can decline to do the job even if they agreed when you asked them.

    6) If no friend is suitable to serve as the trust's executor, you can assign an institution like a trust company or a bank. Your lawyer can explain the pros and cons of this.

    If you haven't already created the will and trust and are still figuring things out, at least get a basic will made that names your close friends as temporary guardian till family from India can arrive. This will avoid the situation of children going to foster care till family arrives.

    Be prepared to modify the will (even paying for it yourself) once in 3-4 years as the children grow older. Till they reach 11 or 12 years, it is almost a no-brainer that they go to India should the need arise. After that, family in India will be older, busier with their own lives, and the teenagers will not like to go to India. Losing parents and having to move to new country can be very hard on them.

    Luckily, as the children grow into teen years, they will need guardians for fewer and fewer years. At that point, it will be easier for the parents' close friends to take up guardianship for the few years till the kid turns 18. By then, the parents also have a higher net worth. The guardians can be compensated financially for taking up the guardianship though really speaking no money in the world can repay that debt!

    Make some will. Put down some names. Modify will once or twice. Time flies ... when older one turns 18, the options become slightly more palatable.
    Hopikrishnan likes this.
  3. Hopikrishnan

    Hopikrishnan Platinum IL'ite

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    :worship2: you are a good egg, Rihana.
    It is hard on anyone, at whatever age, to do this.
    Once upon a time when we had to nominate guardians on the will, we actually took the children on holidays with those families, they had older kids (and we were guardians for those kids). Foreign guardianships are difficult due to immigration/travel rules. Desi children should have active OCI visas at all times, and parents need to have the information on how to get the minor to travel without any parents accompanying.
    Rihana likes this.

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