The importance of appointing Guardians in your Will

The importance of appointing Guardians in your Will

In the event of your death, what is it you would like to happen to your minor children?

Currently in the UK, it is estimated less than 40% of adults have a valid Will. Those who do not have a Will are the most likely group to have minor children and consequently the need to appoint guardians.

Deciding who you would like to bring up your children is not easy, however the thought of knowing that someone you trust will be looking after them after you’re gone should certainly bring some comfort to the matter. After all, the alternative is letting the courts decide on their guardians, something that surely any parent would wish to avoid.

Without any guardians in place, under Section 5 of the Children Act 1989 the courts can appoint guardians for a child if there are no parents with parental responsibility, that is not named on the child’s birth certificate. Guardians may also appoint a successor, this is not something that needs to be done in the Will of the deceased.

It may seem obvious, but when appointing guardians in your Will, you should seek the consent of those you propose to appoint prior to naming them in your Will.

You may also want to consider leaving a gift to the children in your Will as this may be paid to the guardians to use towards the maintenance, education and benefit of the children while they are under 18 years of age and potentially up to the age of 25.

Having appointed guardians for your children, you may also want to think about writing a letter of wishes to lay out how you want your children to be raised. This might include your wishes for their religious upbringing and their education. It should however be remembered that a letter of wishes is just that. It is not legally binding and cannot be enforced, and as such it is advisable that when appointing guardians, you choose somebody who will follow the wishes you have set out.

For help in making a Will, appointing Guardians and providing for your minor children contact us.

Condensed from an article published by the Society of Will Writers.

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