Give A Thought to Appointing A Guardian in Your Will

Give a thought to appointing a Guardian in your Will

The recent Kings Court Trust report 'Changing family structures: The Will writing industry in 2018' revealed that only 26% of parents with children under the age of four years old have a Will and the figures only increase slightly to 42% for parents with children aged between 12 and 16 years old having made a Will.

It appears that most people with children under the age of 18 have not considered making a Will; never mind thought about who they would want to look after their children when they are no longer around.

Thinking about what happens when you pass away is obviously an uncomfortable subject but it is really important to consider making a Will if you have children, and particularly to think about appointing a Guardian for them.

A Guardian will have legal responsibility for your children who are under 18 years old and will care for them when you pass away. They will also manage any money left to your children on their behalf and will do so in their best interests. A Guardian should be someone you trust enough to decide about your children’s welfare, health, education, and housing. You should speak to them first to ensure they are happy to act and that they know your wishes and feelings about how you would like your children to be brought up.

Only the court can appoint a Guardian if you and the other parent of your children pass away without appointing one and children can be placed in care until the court appoints a Guardian to look after them. If you informally agree with your friends or relatives about who will look after your children if you are not around, no-one will have parental responsibility (PR) for them unless the court appoints a Guardian or makes an adoption order, a step-parent acquired PR whilst they were married to one of the parents, or if there is a child arrangements order, a special guardianship order, care order or an emergency protection order in place.

It is therefore sensible to think about who to appoint as a Guardian, and perhaps a replacement. If you want control over what happens to your children when you pass away, the most common way to do this is in your Will and you can also include financial arrangements at the same time.

To discuss any of the issues raised above, please contact a member of the Private Client team on 01384 410410.