When asked their main reason for having a Will, many people will first think about passing on assets. But if you have children, there is another key reason – naming legal guardian(s) to care for your children if the need arises.
What is a guardian?
A guardian is someone who looks after a child if the child is orphaned. The guardian will be given parental responsibility, which gives them the authority to make important decisions for the child, including decisions about:
- The child’s education.
- The child’s medical treatment.
- The child’s religion.
- Accompanying the child abroad and agreeing to the child’s emigration.
- Name changes for the child.
- Appointing a new guardian for the child.
Why you should appoint a guardian in your Will
If you appoint a guardian in your Will, you are able to express your wishes for who you’d like to take care of your children after your death.
Assuming both you and the child’s other parent have parental responsibility, guardianship will only take effect after the death of both parents and if the child is under 18. If neither you nor the other parent appoints guardians, it will be up to a court to appoint guardians and this may not be the person or people you would have chosen.
How to appoint guardians
Appointing guardians in your Will is fairly straightforward, but you may also wish to include detailed provisions with the aim of ensuring that, whatever happens, your children will be appropriately cared for. This may include setting out conditions that a potential guardian must meet before they are appointed, or perhaps naming substitute guardians to allow for other eventualities.
A specialist solicitor will be able to ensure your guardians are appointed effectively and correctly. To discuss appointing guardians in your Will, speak to one of our specialist Private Client Services Partners: