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What's a watertight way to make sure my daughter is going to live with family members instead of foster care if I die? (A bit long, all help appreciated!)

Here's the situation: My husband is from England, I'm from Germany, we live in the Netherlands. Neither of us has family around here. We have one daughter of three years of age (she's got a British passport). I need to make sure that, in case me and my husband die, our daughter is going to live with the family member I will point out and have spoken to about this. -I have already thought about a letter I will set up that says it all, but I'd like to make it as watertight as possible. Meaning I'm going to do the same thing in three different languages. Unfortunately I'm not too familiar with these things in English. Is there a difference between "last will" and "testament"? What are the right phrases to say what I want done? -Because if it goes to court it's ALL about phrases and choosing the right words! Can't afford a lawyer right now. So I want to do as much as I can myself. Also, since there might be three different countries involved, I don't want our dd to get caught up in bureaucracy. Responses from people who know their way around in British laws are very much appreciated. Thank you!!! (It's bugging me so bad, I got up at 3 a.m.)


Asked by BeachMom81 at 9:24 PM on Jan. 19, 2011 in General Parenting

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Answers (7)
  • My husband and I just set up our living wills. It appoints who is in charge of our estate and who takes custody of our children if we crump. There is also an addendum that we can list specific items and who they go to. It will be in force until we change it. I am not sure what the laws are our of the US, but that is what we did!

    Answer by khedy at 9:58 PM on Jan. 19, 2011

  • Usually here it's called a "last will & testament" - not two seperate things. A living will might be something too. Either way, you need a will that is notarized. You can look up a lot of this stuff online, and even get templates that all you have to do is fill in the names & have it notarized.

    Answer by Anonymous at 9:28 PM on Jan. 19, 2011

  • Not versed in British law, and I apologize, I almost feel like I shouldn't answer, but the biggest key is to talk to the person whom you wish to have take your daughter. You need to know they will take her and they will take the steps to get her. Second is to give that person something in writing, preferably notarized and dated. Put one with your will also. The third is to get a cheap lawyer if possible to draft a will. It's a Last Will & Testament. You may actually be able to buy an at-home Will kit at the store. Fill this out, have it notarized stating the exact details of who you want to take your daughter. Also specify that this person will be in charge of some kind of fund of money to help financially care for your daughter. Good luck.

    Answer by amybaby_19 at 9:28 PM on Jan. 19, 2011

  • Thanks amybaby_19! Haven't thought about the money yet. Good idea. (And no need to apologize. ;-)


    Comment by BeachMom81 (original poster) at 9:40 PM on Jan. 19, 2011

  • Anon..a 'living will' concerns permission to use medical necessities in the event you become incapacitated, or cannot choose for yourself, because of dire you want a DNR (do not resuscitate), do you want any means to prolong your life, also states the person you choose to make those decisions in your stead.

    Answer by dullscissors at 9:43 PM on Jan. 19, 2011

  • Do you think I need to renew the testament every so many years? (They advise it here for donating your organs, just to make sure it's recent. You could write something 20 years ago, but who can tell you haven't changed your mind about it and forgot to put in down on paper?)

    Comment by BeachMom81 (original poster) at 9:44 PM on Jan. 19, 2011

  • I am not up to date on British law so you should talk to an estate lawyer. They will try to contact family members before sending a child into the foster care system though. The will is going to help dictate which family member is directed to care for your daughter.

    Answer by TaraK. at 9:47 PM on Jan. 19, 2011