WINTERBORNE LEGAL SERVICES
Who would you want to raise your children?
If you both die while your children are young; who would you want to raise your children? What financial support would those people need to carry out the role of guardian? Where would your children live? Would they be educated privately or in state schools? Would they still be able to maintain a relationship with their grandparents, aunts and uncles?
There are so many questions that arise when you start thinking about what would happen to your children if you were no longer around to raise them. Most parents don’t want to think of their young children entering the foster care system and having decisions about their lives being made by the Family Courts but this is what would happen if both parents die without appointing a Guardian.
Why appoint a Guardian?
A Guardian appointed by your Will acquires parental responsibility. This gives the Guardian the ‘rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which by law a parent of a child has in relation to the child and his property’. It means that he or she will be able to make important decisions about your children’s life, including in areas such as education and medical treatment.
If you do not appoint a Guardian, but only have an informal arrangement with family members that they will look after your children, then they must do what is reasonable to safeguard the children and promote their welfare. However, they will not have parental responsibility and will not have any legal authority to make decisions on behalf of the children.
Where will your children live?
Will you expect your appointed Guardians to move into your house to look after your children? Will the Guardians need to make changes to their own home to accommodate your children? Or perhaps they will need a larger house?
Would you expect your children to receive a private education or attend a state school? What about holidays? Do your children have expensive hobbies that you would want them to be able to continue enjoying?
A Guardian is not obliged to maintain your children using the Guardian’s own money, so it is best to make an arrangement in your Will for how the costs of your children’s upbringing will be met.
- Suppose you appoint a married couple as Guardians of your children but they later separate?
- What happens if your appointed Guardian is not able to care for the children if the time comes?
- If one or both of you have family outside the UK, in which country should the children be raised?
Like most of us, you’re probably just getting on with life and haven’t considered any of these issues. But if you would like your child to be able to have some stability in the event that they lost both parents whilst they were young, you should consider appointing Guardians.
Making a Will is straightforward and will give you peace of mind about your children’s future if you were not here to take care of them.
Or ask a question using the contact form below.