Guardianship

A guardian clause written in your will is the person you appoint to look after your children under the age of 18 when you pass away. They will make important life decisions on behalf of your children such as their upbringing, education and lifestyle. 

Who you choose to bring up your children is very important- so why wouldn’t you want to set up a legal guardianship within your will? It’s even more important than where your assets go, these are your loved ones, not your loved possessions. 

You want to make sure that when you set up a legal guardianship you are appointing the right guardian for your children. You want to make sure that they will act in yours and your children’s best interests. 

Why should you appoint a guardian in your will? 

You may think that your family members will automatically take care of your children, however this isn’t always how it will happen. Sometimes your family members have to fight to be able to take care of your child depending on the situation which can be costly and time consuming. If you do not appoint a guardian in your will, the likelihood is that your child will get put in care.

A common misunderstanding of guardianship is that if you and your partner are not married your child will be taken care of by your partner. However if you do not set up a guardian in your will this is not the case. 

Who should I choose as my guardian?

The main points to think about when choosing a guardian are the future decisions they will make, whether you have the same values and morals and practical factors such as where they live, their age and current situation. Don’t worry if there’s more you need to say, you can write a letter of wishes in your will, making you able to give some guidance for how you would like your child to be taken care of. 

It is not binding that the guardian you state in your will has to look after your children, which is why it is extremely wise to speak to them first and make sure they are certain they want to do it as it is a big responsibility. 

The final question to ask yourself is… if there was one person you could trust wholeheartedly to look after your children, who would it be?