Why all parents must consider Guardianship in their Will
With the kids getting back to school this month we think it is a good time for parents to start thinking about their own responsibilities too. This starts with facing the difficult subject of considering guardianship in your Will.
No-body likes to sit down with their partner after a long day and work and consider worse case scenarios. But as the classic children’s novel by Lemony Snicket shows us, failure to face these tough choices leaves your children exposed to all sorts of unfortunate events.
What is guardianship?
Quite simply this is the process of choosing who amongst your friends and family should take responsibility for your children in the event that you both pass way.It is a horrible thing to think about, which is probably why so many of us choose not to and simply hope for the best.
But getting this kind of thing sorted out is the cornerstone of good parenting and excellent peace of mind.
What happens if we don’t specify guardianship in our Will?
If one of you dies then responsibility for the children automatically passes to the surviving spouse.
However should you both die the courts will then make a decision on who is best placed to take on responsibility for the kids.
Without Guardianship being specified in your Will you have no control over this process and whoever the courts decide may not be the person you think are the best people for the job.
What does the guardian actually do?
A guardian has full responsibility for your children. They will make all decisions about how they are brought up, their education, healthcare and financial welfare.
With this is mind it is easy to see why the role of guardian is so important. In many cases the guardian is also the trustee of the property and wealth held in trust for your kids, so could also be making important financial decisions to boot.
So who do I choose?
This is always a difficult question to answer. You need to consider who from your friends and family would be willing to take on this responsibility and who is best placed to do so.
You need to get a good balance of someone capable of providing your children with the affection and emotional support that they need along with someone who has the ability to make the best practical decisions.
It is quite possible to name more than one guardian so therefore it is often best to choose at least two people, often from different sides of the family.
It is also advisable to name a second set of Guardians when making a Will as you might not think about it again for some years and situations and circumstances may have changed.
It could even be the case that your chosen guardians have passed away too.
How do add a guardianship to my Will?
We can help you do this when you are writing your Will, during a Will review or simply by adding a codicil to your existing Will.
Speak to one of specialist Will writers by calling us on the number above or my email. Remember, it might be an unpleasant thing to think about but it is not half as unpleasant as the thought of your children having no provision made for them at all.