Appointing Guardians in your Will
30 May 2022 by Carlie Brown
As parents of minor children it is important to have a Will in place naming guardians who you approve of to take care of your children in the event of both parents dying before the children reach the age of eighteen years. Guardians can only be appointed in a Will by those who have Parental Responsibility for the child. A mother automatically has Parental Responsibility for her child once they are born, but a father who is not married to the child’s mother does not automatically have it. An appointment of guardians will only take effect on the death of the person who has made the guardianship as long as no other person has Parental Responsibility for the child. When a guardian’s appointment takes effect, they will have Parental Responsibility for the child or children and are then able to make important decisions about the child’s life such as medical treatment and education.
Guardians are not obliged to financially support the children out of their own funds. Any financial support needed for the upbringing of the child or children can be covered under the Will by leaving the Residuary Estate on trust for the child/children. The Executors as Trustees, have statutory powers to apply the income and capital of the estate for the benefit of the children. This will help the guardians with the everyday financial needs of the children. Again by having a Will in place you will choose who the Executors and Trustees will be and their role includes looking after the monies that you have left for your children. The people you choose as your Executors and Trustees should be ones that are responsible and that you can trust to have the best interests of your children in mind.
If both parents have died leaving children under the age of eighteen without appointing guardians then the Court will appoint suitable guardians.
By having a Will in place which names guardians it is less likely to be forgotten about or mislaid in the event of your death. A separate document naming guardians could be mislaid meaning that your wishes of guardians is unknown.
A Letter of Wishes can be placed alongside your Will setting out any detailed instructions you would like to leave your guardians in the raising of your children.
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