Guardianship of your children
Death is not something that any of us want to think about, but having children means that we have to face up to this possibility in order ensure they are protected in case of this eventuality.
If you were to die, leaving children under the age of 18 without a parent, someone would need to look after your children.
You can appoint legal guardians for children under 18 as part of your will. This ensures that should you die, your children will be looked after by the people you choose and not by someone you would not want to raise them.
If you do not appoint legal guardians in a will, the Courts will have to decide who should be appointed guardians of your children. They will not have the insight that you do into your child’s existing relationships or your knowledge of who would be a suitable person to raise your children.
By including a guardianship provision in your will it can also help to avoid disputes between family members who would all like to help. By stating your wishes in a will you can make it clear exactly what you would like to happen.
How to choose the right legal guardians
When considering who to appoint as legal guardian for your children, you need to consider the following:
- What is their current relationship with your children?
- How do you feel about their values and parenting skills?
- Are they able to offer your children a stable family environment?
- Are they willing and able to handle the responsibility of caring for your children on a long-term basis?
What are the responsibilities of a legal guardian?
- Day to day care of the children.
- Making decisions about the children's
- Health and welfare.
- If you have left a house or other financial assets in trust for your children, for them to inherit when they reach adulthood, a guardian will often also be one of the Trustees. This means that they will have responsibility for overseeing the finances until the child is of age to inherit.
There are many important elements to consider when deciding on who should be guardians. For more information and advice please contact us.