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Choosing Guardians: Will You Hurt Someone's Feelings?

My husband and I have decided we would want our kids to go to my brother and his family, who live in another city, a 10-hour drive away. We think my brother and his wife would raise them more how we would want them to be raised, especially when it comes to the big decisions.

What can we say to my husband's brother and his wife that won't hurt their feelings? Do we even have to say anything?

Parents do not want to contemplate not being around to rear their own children. They also do not want to choose between relatives to raise the children. It can feel like those relatives who are not chosen are being rejected and insulted. Parents do not want to leave those relatives with lingering hurt feelings. But choosing guardians is an extremely important task, and one that should not be avoided.

The Washington Post, in a recent article titled "Carolyn Hax: Should couple explain to kin their will's directive on guardianship?," has a discussion over whether relatives who are not chosen as the potential guardian should be told that and the reasoning why.

It is an interesting discussion.

On the one hand, not telling them could lead to family feuds and hurt feelings when and if they later find out. On the other hand, telling them could lead to hurt feelings and feuds now. This is a situation where there is not necessarily a right answer that is generally applicable.

What to do depends on the individuals involved.

The article does make one very important point, however. Anyone who is chosen to be a guardian of minor children should be told beforehand.

Before making an estate plan that nominates someone for guardianship of minor children, it is important to make sure that the potential guardian is willing to do the job. An experience estate planning attorney can assist you every step of the way.

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