28th October 2019
By Amy Jones
If you have children then it is important that you consider what would happen to them in the unfortunate event that you and your partner were to pass away whilst they were under the age of 18. You are able to incorporate a guardianship clause within your will to give your children some security.
Why would you appoint a guardian?
If one parent were to pass away the surviving parent would normally continue to have full responsibility. However, should both parents pass away and no guardians are appointed under your will then the Court will appoint guardians. However, the Court may not always make the right choice for you.
If you appoint a guardian under your will then the appointed guardian will assume Parental Responsibility if:-
· The child has no surviving parent with parental responsibility, or
· The testator was named as the person with whom the child was to live under a child arrangement order or residence order
Somebody with parental responsibility is able to have a say in important decisions in the child’s life – such as health, education and welfare. The guardian will also be able to have care of the child on a day-to-day basis. If there is a dispute as to whether the child should live with the guardian then they have the option to apply to court for a child arrangement order without the need for permission from the court as they have parental responsibility.
Who should you appoint as a guardian?
You can appoint anybody you want to be the child’s guardian provided they are over the age of 18. However, you should consider appointing somebody who is willing and able to accept the role and who has a good relationship with the child currently. You can also appoint more than one guardian. If you wanted to do this, it is important to appoint guardians who get along.
A lot of people assume that grandparents are a good choice for guardians, and whilst this may be the case for some families the guardian will be responsible until the child reaches 18 and therefore you should consider whether grandparents will be up to that role.
You do not have to have consent of somebody to name them as a guardian. However, without having a conversation prior to their appointment you run the risk of them not being willing to accept the position of guardian on your death.
For further information on appointing guardians and making a will, please contact our private client department on 0117 973 1391 or [email protected], who will be happy to assist with any questions that you have.