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Parents Should Think Carefully About Children In Their Wills

As a parent, one of the hardest decisions to make when preparing or reviewing a Will is who should look after your children if the worst were to happen.

There are a whole host of emotional and practical decisions to make:

  • Should I appoint grandparents? Will they be able to cope with young children 24/7?
  • Do they live in an area you want your children to grow up in?
  • Do they have the same values and beliefs?
  • How will it affect them? Is their house big enough?

All these need some consideration, but the most important thing is that you do actually appoint guardians for your children in a specific section of your Will.


What’s the role of a Guardian?

The guardian is responsible for the child’s development together with a range of other important issues, including:

  • Changing the child’s name
  • Any change to the child’s place of residence, e.g. move to another country
  • Any major medical treatment the child might need
  • The child’s education
  • Their culture, language and religious beliefs.

A guardian doesn’t have an automatic role in providing day-to-day care of the child, but you can include more specific details in your Will.


How does the Guardian fulfil their role?

The role of a guardian doesn’t begin until the parent dies.  The guardian will then be responsible for the child until the child turns 18, gets married or lives with another person (as a de facto partner).


What should you consider when deciding on a Guardian?

It’s a very difficult decision to make, with a number of different considerations.  Emotions aside, it falls down to who is trusted to make those important decisions for the child, in the same way, that the parents would.

Most parents choose someone whose views and beliefs are similar to their own.

It’s also sensible for the person chosen as guardian to have an ongoing relationship with the child.

If you’re a parent or parent to be, and you’d like to discuss this or any legal issue, please contact a member of our specialist Wills, Trusts & Probate team on 0115 9100 200 or click here to send an email.

Posted on September 3, 2015

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