What is a 'guardian'?

If you have children under the age of 18 you will probably want to nominate a guardian for them in case you and the child’s other parent were to die.

You can only appoint a guardian for your children if you have parental responsibility for them.

You can read more about who has parental responsibility and what will happen if there is no will in our ‘What happens to your children if you die without a will’ article.

A guardian’s role and responsibilities

The role of a guardian is essentially much the same as a parent and can include the day to day care of the child and making decisions about how they are looked after, educated and treated medically until they reach the age of 18.

Find out more about choosing guardians in our ‘Appointing guardians for your children in your will’ article.


Most children will also be beneficiaries of their parent’s estate and their inheritance will usually be held for them in a trust until they are 18. The guardians will be able to use any income from the investment of that inheritance for the upkeep of any children left in their care.

You can read more about trusts and trustees in our ‘What are trustees in a will’ article.

If you have children you will want to make the right decisions for them and we’re here to help – from appointing guardians and trustees to choosing what to leave them. Your will is probably the most important thing you can do to ensure your children are provided for in the event of your death. So we want to do everything we can to help you get it right.

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