in     by Danielle Sutcliffe 02-03-2018

It is a difficult subject for anyone with children and something that we don’t like to think about, but if the worst should happen and your children were left without parents, what would happen to them? Where would they live? Who would look after them as well as you do? These are the questions we often find ourselves suppressing as we hope we will never need the answers. A parent is irreplaceable; however, it is your responsibility to ensure your children would be taken care of by someone you trust. After all if you don’t decide, who will?

It is a common misconception that friends or family will automatically care for your child. However, if you die without appointing a guardian and leave behind children who are under 18 years old, it will be up to the Courts to decide who is most suitable to look after them. This can result in your children being placed into care until the relevant outcome is determined. This is a frightening thought for parents and something that can be avoided if you appoint guardians within your Will.

Some of us may be in the fortunate position whereby we have many people we would trust to bring up our children. Others may struggle to decide who should be given this huge responsibility.


So, how do you choose?


There are a whole host of questions to ask yourself before committing to a final decision, here are just a few to get you started:

  1. Is there someone that your child already has a close relationship with? Who they are comfortable around?
  2. Is this person able (and willing) to take on the financial and emotional responsibility of bringing up your child?
  3. Does this person have enough room to accommodate them?
  4. Would your children have to move? This could mean changing schools and social activities.
  5. Do they have a lifestyle that would allow them to take care of your children? For example, do they have a job that means they are away from home a lot of the time?
  6. Will they raise your children with similar beliefs (religious or otherwise) and values to the ones you hold?
  7. Do they have children of their own? What impact would it have on their family lives and the lives of your children?

It is important that you speak to your intended guardian before you formally include them in your Will. Perhaps ask them the above questions to find out how your children would fit into their family. 


Letter of Wishes


It is advisable to write a Letter of Wishes alongside your Will to give your guardians some guidance about how you would like your children to be raised. Although not legally binding, it is your opportunity to provide your guardians with the tools they need to care for your children. A Letter of Wishes can include the type of school you want them to attend, or any dietary requirements/ allergies your child may have. This information is something that you as a parent will take for granted but it could be vital for your guardian to ensure the safety of your children.  

For more information contact DS Wills & Estate Planning or complete the 'call me back' form and we will be in touch.