Including guardianship in your Will lets you specify to the Courts who you would like to appoint as carers for your children if the worst happens…
Establishing Guardianship in your Will
Guardianship is a difficult thing to think about, but each year 1000s of UK citizens die unexpectedly without leaving a Will. This leaves a huge legal black hole for families to deal with.
Specifying Guardianship allows you to elect who plays an active role in your children’s upbringing if you and your partner are no longer around.
This is a legally recongnised document giving clear instructions to the UK courts about relatives and friends you know and trust.
It will also allow you to specify when and how your children will inherit. This is particularly important if you have significant asset and are worried that they might not be able to manage them properly when they turn 18.
You can also appoint trustees to oversee their finances until they come of age.
Some frequently asked questions…
What is guardianship?
Guardianship specifies who amongst your friends and family should take responsibility for your children in the event of both you and your partner passing away. It is written into your Wills.
What happens if you do not specify guardianship in your Will?
If one spouse dies then responsibility for the children automatically passes to the other. However, if you both die unexpectedly – in a traffic accident, for example – then the UK Courts will decide who becomes guardian. Without specifying guardianship, you will have no influence on who this may be.
What are the guardian’s responsibilities?
A guardian takes full responsibility for your children. They will make all major decisions, such as how they are brought up, their education, healthcare and financial welfare. Essentially, they take the place of the parents.
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.
Who should I choose?
It’s a big responsibility so they should be willing to take on this role. Whoever they are, they should have a good balance of being able to provide affection and emotional support along with the ability to make good, practical decisions.
Can guardianship be shared?
Yes. It is possible to name more than one guardian. Many people choose at least two people, often from different sides of the family. It’s also common to choose people can provide a good mix of emotional and practical care.
You should also name a second set of Guardians when making a Will. You might not think about it again for some years and situations and circumstances can change. It could even be the case that your chosen guardians have passed away too.
Can guardianship be contested?
Yes. However, you will need to seek professional legal advice about this before proceeding.
Can guardianship be transferred to another person?
Yes. See above.
Can grandparents get guardianship?
Yes. Grandparents are often ideal guardians.
Is guardianship the same as power of attorney?
No. Power of Attorney is a completely separate thing
Have some more questions? Don’t hesitate to call us on 0800 29 88 66 1 or 020 8340 3102