The simple way to make guardianship arrangements for your children
Deciding who should take care of your children if you (or others with parental responsibility) are no longer there to look after them can be a difficult decision. Sometimes the decision can be so delicate that it becomes one of those ‘to do’ items that falls to the bottom of the pile never to be thought about again. We all do it!
Taking time to consider who you wish to appoint as your child’s guardian if the worst happens and you die whilst your children are under 18 will help to give you peace of mind, and avoid arguments between those you leave behind. Although we can’t make that particular decision for you, we can help you to make a clear and valid guardianship appointment.
The clearest way to ensure your children are brought up by the people you choose is to name them as guardians of your minor children in your Will. Your Will can also name replacement guardians if those first named guardians are unwilling or unable to act. Your latest Will will be looked at following your death, making it less likely that your wishes regarding guardians will be overlooked. As your Will is likely to make financial provision for your children too, it is sensible for all arrangements for your children to be recorded in one document.
Many parents also like to have the opportunity to set out their wishes as to how their children should be raised in their absence; from their education and the values they are taught to live by to the hobbies and experiences that they should have the opportunity to enjoy. A letter of wishes documenting your thoughts on these matters can be prepared and stored with your Will. Although not binding it is helpful guidance for your children’s guardians.
Without a clear, signed indication of your wishes, guardianship arrangements will be determined by the court. This widens the list of potential guardians, takes the decision out of your hands, giving the decision making power to the Court instead.
Appointing a guardian is important to many, yet acted on by relatively few. As we approach the end of the summer holidays and before the start of the busy ‘back to school’ period perhaps it is time to consider making a Will, or revisiting yours if you have one already, to include provision for the future care of your children.
To discuss guardianship arrangements or your Will please contact Hannah Baker at firstname.lastname@example.org.