Choosing a guardian isn't always easy. A lesson from the Beastie Boys' MCA

If you have young children, an important reason to have a will is to communicate your wishes regarding who should raise your children if something happens to both you and your partner.

If you're lucky, you and your partner agree on who should be the guardian if the worst happened. You also have family and friends who would understand your decision and no one who would have their nose out of joint because of your decision.

However, it's not always that easy. You may agree with your partner, but have parents or siblings who might have expectations that differ from you. Deciding whether and how to address this may be something that requires thought and discussion. 

Or you and your partner may disagree. In some cases, this may be getting in the way of preparing a will.

There are other good reasons for having a will, apart from communicating your wishes regarding guardianship. This includes ensuring that your assets are distributed in the manner that you want, and not according to the formulas set out in a piece of legislation that does not consider your circumstances and wishes.

Where this is the case, it may be prudent to reach some sort of compromise. You can always update your will, or prepare a new will in the future, if you reach a consensus with your partner.

Adam Yauch, better known as MCA of the Beastie Boys, passed away last year. His will has been reported to include an interesting compromise of this nature

"If he died in a year with an even number, he appointed his parents... as the guardians, with his wife’s parents... as the backup if his own parents were unable to play that role. On the other hand, if he died in an odd-numbered year, the arrangement would be reversed, with her parents stepping in as guardians, and his serving as the backup."

Sonnie Bailey

Sonnie is the founder and principal of Fairhaven Wealth.

Before founding Fairhaven Wealth, Sonnie worked in the legal and financial services industries for over a decade.

Sonnie first became involved with financial advice as a specialist financial services lawyer. For many years, he was an “adviser of advisers”, reviewing thousands of advice files prepared by hundreds of financial advisers, and providing feedback in relation to the quality and appropriateness of advice; industry best practice; risk management; and regulatory compliance. He has published work in industry publications and spoken at various financial advice conferences.

Sonnie has also worked with banks, investment management firms, insurers, and derivatives providers.

Sonnie has worked as a private client lawyer, focusing on succession, estate planning and trusts. He ran his own legal firm in Australia before relocating to New Zealand. He has also acted in independent trustee and company director positions.

Sonnie is passionate about helping people achieve their goals and manage the risks to which they are exposed.

He has written extensively on his blog, New Zealand Wealth and Risk, which can be found at

Sonnie is married to his wonderful wife Chrissy, and has two young children, Ben and Anna.