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Appointing a guardian in your Will


As a parent, the last thing we want to think about is not being around to look after our children and to be honest it is not a subject that most people want to think about at all. This is confirmed by recent statistics that suggest that only one in five parents has named legal guardians for their children.

 

As a parent, you can appoint a guardian to look after your children and this can be done under the provisions of your Will. A guardian is a person appointed to look after your children following your death and the guardianship will remain in place until the child reaches 18 years of age. If a parent of a minor child dies and there is no one else with parental responsibility for them, then the Courts will decide who is to be granted parental responsibility for that child.

 

The appointment of a guardian is a personal decision. A guardian can be a family member or a close friend, someone you trust to bring up and care for your children. The responsibilities of a guardian are similar to that of a parent in that they must provide a home and daily care for the child and make any decisions regarding the child’s education, health, religion and general upbringing. It is likely that you would want your guardian to be mindful of important family events, such as birthdays, religious holidays or other significant family events and ensure that these are remembered and properly celebrated.

 

It is always worth remembering that the needs of the children will change over time and it may be easier for younger children to be moved to a chosen guardian who lives in another county but as children get older and immersed in their school life and have strong bonds with their friends, such a move would be a huge disruption to their lives, and would possibly only add to the stress of having lost their parents. Often grandparents are the first choice when children are young, but caring for teenagers is a very different situation, especially if the grandparents then are elderly or infirm. So although it is important to make the decision as early as possible in relation to the appointment of guardians and have this drawn up professionally in your Will, it is also equally as important to review the appointment as years go by, to reflect the changing needs of the children.

 

The question of who will look after our children is such a difficult one, but a little thought now can bring substantial peace of mind.

Samantha Lloyd and her team in our Wills and Estates Planning team can assist with any aspect of making a Will including the appointment of guardians and setting up trusts.  For further information, please call 01905 723561 or e-mail Samantha.Lloyd@smesolicitors.co.uk

Added: 19 May 2016 10:13


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