Don’t Surprise Your Guardians
According to this article, Diana Ross, who was named as an alternate guardian for Michael Jackson’s kids in his will, was not aware she was named and was none too pleased about the possibility of raising his kids.
When clients ask me if they should tell their heirs about the details of their estate planning, I tell them that someone should know where the documents are located, but as far as where the assets are going, use their own judgment depending on family circumstances.
However, any potential guardian of any minor children named in your will should definitely be aware of, and agree to, the possibility. This includes alternate guardians. You need to ensure they are willing and able to serve as guardians. You will probably want to talk to them, leave written instructions, or both, about how you want your children raised, including subjects like where they will live, discipline, education, finances, religion, etc. You do not want to surprise any future guardian of your children after you’re gone.