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Legal News | 16.05.24

A guardian to guard against the future

If you’ve got children who are under the age of 18, then we would strongly recommend you consider including a guardianship clause within your Will.

What is a guardian?

A guardian is the person who becomes legally responsible for looking after your children if you die before they turn 18, should there be no surviving person with parental responsibility for those children. Guardians gain parental responsibility and can make decisions about your children’s health, education and where and with whom they will live. It may be useful to write a letter to sit alongside your Will explaining how you wish your guardians to act.  This letter can cover your wishes regarding your children’s upbringing, education and other matters.

If no guardian is appointed in your Will, it is ultimately left up to the courts to decide what is best for your minor children. They usually appoint a close relative; however, it may not be the person you would have chosen, given the opportunity.

How to choose a guardian for your Will

A guardian should be someone that you trust, as they will be responsible for bringing up your children. This could be a family member, or a close friend. However, it is important to consider a number of factors before you appoint your guardian. For instance:

  • Do your children know the people that you have appointed?
  • Do they have similar beliefs, morals, and style of living to you?
  • Do they have the financial ability to raise your children if your estate is not sufficient?

How many guardians should you have?

You can appoint a single guardian to look after your children; however, it can be sensible to appoint a substitute guardian to avoid potential problems which may arise from ill health, death and the possibility of the first appointed guardian not being willing to act.

How to ensure your guardians have suitable financial provisions?

Financial provision should be considered to ensure that your guardians are able to fulfil their role. This may mean leaving instructions for your executors to release money to fund your children’s education and to meet other day-to-day expenses, and ensure your guardians are not left out of pocket.

How do I appoint a guardian?

A guardian can be appointed in your Will. If you would like to make a new Will or review your existing Will to ensure that your children will be suitably looked after, please get in touch with your usual contact or email us.

 

Posted By Our Wills, Tax, Trusts & Probate Team