Who should be appointed as a Guardian?

Out of all the decisions you’ll need to make whilst writing your will, choosing who will look after your children if you and their other parent were to die, is possibly one of the hardest decisions you will have to make.  Whilst it might be an upsetting prospect, it’s an important decision and one you’ll most certainly want to get right. So, who should you choose? Choosing the right guardians Most people choose a brother, sister or close friend to be guardians, but does being a good friend or your favourite sister mean they are going to be the right person to bring up your children? Here are some things you may want to consider: Are their values and ideas on parenting the same as yours? Do they have a good relationship with your child? Do they have the time and energy to be able to properly care for your child? Are they willing to take on such an important responsibility? Does your child have a good relationship with them (and any other children already living in the same home)? Are they physically well enough (and young enough) to look after your child properly until they’re 18? Will they be able to maintain good relationships with the rest of the family (on both sides)? Before making your final decision you should talk to the individuals you want to choose to make sure they are happy to take on the responsibility of being a guardian and understand what this will mean if you were to die. It is often a good idea to appoint at least one guardian (or a...

Can I leave my estate to my children if they are under 18?

Yes, you can leave your estate to whoever you choose. Children tend to be a popular choice and they can still inherit, even if they are under 18. Trusts Where a child is under 18 their inheritance will be held in a trust for them until they are 18. When you make your will you appoint the trustees to oversee the trust. Until the child reaches 18, the trustees are able to use the inheritance and any income from investing it for the benefit of the child. Back to the knowledge...

Who will take care of my children if I die without a Will?

If you have children under 18, have you ever considered what would happen to them if you were to die? Who would look after them? Guardianship For many people, appointing people to look after their children if they die is one of the most important functions of a will. These people – guardians – will have “parental responsibility” for the children. A person with parental responsibility is entitled to take decisions on behalf of a child for example about education, medical treatment and where they will live. Having parental responsibility does not, in general, mean that person is financially responsible for the child. A guardianship will only be effective if no surviving parent has parental responsibility for the child. In other words, usually, if one parent dies but another survives the surviving parent will have parental responsibility. When does a parent have parental responsibility? If the child’s parents are married at birth, then both will have parental responsibility If not, the mother will have parental responsibility A father will acquire parental responsibility if the parents subsequently marry or if he is named on the child’s birth certificate (for children born after 1 December 2003) or under a court order Adoptive parents have parental responsibility What if there’s no one with parental responsibility? If both you and the other parent were to die and there is no guardian appointed for your children, then the courts would appoint someone instead. This could mean that someone you wouldn’t have chosen will be being left to bring up your children. It can also cause delay at what will already be an upsetting and...