One of the major decisions as a parent is choosing someone to look after your child if you and your spouse/partner die before your child is 18 years old.
- If you have children aged under 18, you should have a valid Will with a guardianship clause
- How do you select the right Guardian?
- What is Trustee?
If you or your spouse/partner die before your child is 18 years old, parental responsibility will fall to the other parent of the child. However, if both parents predecease the child, he/she will need to be looked after by a legal guardian until he/she reaches the age of 18.
The guardian or guardians of your child will be given the legal rights to assist with your child’s physical, medical and educational needs and will be responsible for the day to day care of your child.
A clause within your Will, to appoint guardians is often suggested for anyone with a child under 18. If you already have an up to date Will, a Codicil with a guardianship clause can be prepared and stored alongside your Will.
When thinking of who you would like to appoint as Guardian the factors you may wish to consider are:
- Do they already have a good relationship with your child?
- Are they physically capable of looking after a young child?
- Do they work full time or are they prepared to change their work schedule to look after your children if necessary?
- Do they have children of their own? Do you have similar parenting techniques?
- Are they able to offer the right environment for your child?
The above list is only a guide and you may feel that other factors are equally important.
We recommend that you discuss with the person or people you wish to appoint, whether or not they would be prepared to act as guardians. This provides the opportunity for the friend or family member to indicate whether they would be willing to be a guardian, if the need arises, and any wishes you may have as to the upbringing of your child.
When preparing your Will you will be asked to select Trustees also. The Trustees will have financial control of your estate, in relation to any minors. You may wish to nominate the same people to be Guardians as well as Trustees. However, the people you pick as your Trustees and your Guardians can be different people, in which case you should be confident that they will be able to work harmoniously together in the best interests of your children.
If you would like to update or amend your Will please contact Lucy Benning on 0118 958 9711 or [email protected].
Discuss the legal implications of adding a guardianship clause to your Will – or writing a new Will to include a guardianship clause.