THE ORPHAN BOYS
The Orphan Boys in 1976, the hottest summer for a generation and life was perfect for the two young brothers Philip and Roger. They lived an idyllic life on a farm in the picturesque dales of the north of England. With their days spent on the farm, playing on Tarzan swings, building dens and swimming outside, their perfect existence was plunged into darkness when tragedy struck the family. Within a ten week period, the boys lost their parents and were left orphans.
This is the story of Philip and his brother Roger, how their grandparents stepped in to bring them up and how a family and community came together to deal with the consequences that the devastation of death had left behind. Orphan Boys is not a misery memoir, it’s a story full of love, strength and hope. This book is an uplifting tale of a family’s survival and how they faced the huge challenges that life threw at them.
“Little by little, bit by bit, family by family, so much good can be done on so many levels”, Elinor Ostrum
Our interview is Phil Mew’s recollection of 1976 onward to having his parents pass away suddenly in a 10 week period to what next. Feelings as a child both him and his brother were under the age of 10 and his older brother had to get out of the house and help out too.
According to Wikipedia– what is an Orphan?
An orphan (from the Greek: ορφανός, romanized: orphanós) is a child whose parents have died, are unknown, or have permanently abandoned them. In common usage, only a child who has lost both parents due to death is called an orphan. When referring to animals, only the mother’s condition is usually relevant (i.e. if the female parent has gone, the offspring is an orphan, regardless of the father’s condition)
Kids that have once been abandoned and neglected by their own parents today have the one thing, they longed for most in this world – a family!
There are over 400,000 children in U.S. foster care going from family to family.
There are over 100,000 kids in need of a family today. By the 1950s, more children lived in foster homes than in orphanages in the United States, and by the 1960s, foster care had become a government-funded program. Since then, U.S. orphanages have gone extinct entirely. According to Wikipedia, The use of government-run orphanages has been phased out in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and in the European Union member-states during the latter half of the 20th century but continue to operate in many other regions internationally. Despite all this natural wealth there are more orphans in Uganda than anywhere else in the world — over 2.90 million children out of the 3 — due to the AIDS epidemic, extreme poverty, and decades of civil conflict.
PARENTS, HERE IS WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS IF YOU DIE WITHOUT A WILL
You know you need one—you just haven’t gotten around to it yet?? You think well, I have lots of time. Here’s why creating a WILL definitely needs to move to the top of everyone’s TO-DO list.
We all have TO-DO lists, so why not add this one to it. And here’s why a Will is so very important to both you and your spouse or partner as well as those left behind!
A WILL is a legal document that explains how you want your estate to be divided when you die. This can be completed by a lawyer, or attorney or notary as well as DIY if you feel so inclined. But let me tell you why you should always, look at the bigger picture of why you should have a professional in the field of FAMILY LAW in your area, draw a WILL up for you.
After having the experience of a friend’s brother in-law complete a WILL KIT and then stuff it in his night side table beside his bed, you would never fill out a WILL by hand, or with a WILL KIT. He died suddenly after a massive heart attack in his apartment and he had just completed his Will Kit a few years prior. He had written into the WILL, naming his two nephews as his beneficiaries to split everything equally. For whatever reason, he felt it was important as he was single to help out his nephews who were always helping him. But, what happened next is disturbing to say the least.
The family members, his sister, and 2 brothers showed up to his apartment and after a few hours found his WILL that he had completed next to his bed, and ripped it up! Then his sister and 2 brothers would then be his beneficiaries to his will and nothing can be said. And yes, that’s what happened to this day it is a big kept secret!
INCLUDE a guardianship clause, where also appoint a guardian for your underage children. You can also specify your preferences for your funeral arrangements. So what happens when you die without a will?
If you die without a will, your estate will be divided and distributed according to the laws of your country, state, province or territory.
For example, in British Columbia Canada, anything you own jointly with someone (such as your family home) automatically goes to the co-owner (usually your spouse/partner or business partner). For everything else, if you are married with kids and you die without a will, the first $200,000 of your estate plus one-third goes to your spouse, and the other two-thirds is divided among your children equally. If you have a different plan in mind, you need to state that in a will. Check in your area what the rules are for dying intestate.
If you don’t have a will, and your kids are under the age of majority, their money will be held in a trust, managed by a someone you have appointed such as the trust administrator, the executor or your children’s guardian—only until they reach the age of majority. You will need to also consider what do you want to have happen if the children are over the age of 18 in most countries or states, provinces. Few parents want their kids to have access to their entire inheritance at that age, and writing a will ensures that they won’t. This may cause issues if your children or child is disabled, or addicted to a substance, or is not capable of looking after themselves. In that case you will need to specify a little bit deeper. Setting up a Trust will enable you spread the amount of the estate into the trust to enable the administrator to handle the monies and obligations as stated.
Things get more complicated if you die without a will and you have a common-law spouse and/or a blended family. Common-law spouses don’t have always have estate rights – so check in your vicinity to the laws for that.
That means common-law partners (and their kids from prior relationships) are not automatically entitled to part of your estate, even if you’ve all lived together for years and/or you and your common-law partner have biological children together. Check your area for these rules! Remember, if common-law spouses want to leave any part of their estates to each other, they must do so in their own WILL.
This is may also be true if you and your partner are unmarried and don’t meet your location’s definition of “common-law,” such as described as “adult interdependent relationship.”
If you have a will, it should include a guardianship clause, which appoints someone to look after your minor children if you and your spouse/partner both die, otherwise the government will appoint an administrator to decide for you.
The hardest question to answer, when you are a Mom is, It’s the most important and the most daunting: who’s going to take care of my kids if something happens to me? Parents often struggle with choosing a Guardian. Relatives are usually the obvious and most practical choice. You can also choose a main primary Guardian but also another guardian who will help them out on weekends and get-aways if you so choose. When choosing an individual, couple or family, remember that they’ll be raising your kids, not just providing for them. Are the prospective guardians willing? Do they share your values and beliefs? Do they have the ability and means to care for your kids, in addition to their own? Have you allowed in your Life insurance policy for providing for school costs, and activities so it’s not just on your Guardian’s bank book.
In addition to appointing a guardian, your will should name an executor or in some areas called a Trustee. This person will manage your children’s care and money which is held in trust until they are the age of majority in that area.
The guardian and the executor don’t have to be the same person. Some people are great with kids but not so great with money, and vice versa, so it is definitely something to consider when arranging your PEOPLE’s roles. Also make sure they will work together and get along in these roles.
If you have questions about separation, divorce and your estate and how that plays a role in your decision making speak to a lawyer or attorney in your area.
Thanks to Phil Mews, who brought us this touching and compelling story of his memoir to our Podcast and interview. It makes us look at all of the things we have not thought about, or considered the What IF?
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