Appointing a guardian

Who will raise your children if you die before they are 18?

Have you ever considered who will look after your children if you die while they’re still under age? Who will make sure they are raised the way you would wish and only has their best interests at heart?

Many people don’t want to think about these issues as they are considered morbid and negative thinking. But it is really important to be prepared should the worst happen. It is not enough to simply make the decision and discuss it with your family. You need to make it legally binding by including it in your Will.

Should you die without a Will, or without any arrangements regarding guardianship in your Will, the court will decide who gets to look after your children and that could be less than ideal.

A legal guardian is the person named in your Will who will look after and raise your children if both parents die before they reach the age of 18. To appoint a guardian all you need to do is name them in your Will.

Before making your Will, speak to your chosen guardians and ensure that they are happy to potentially take on this responsibility. Make sure the people you pick share your values and are able to provide a stable family environment for your children. You might want to choose someone who already knows your children well, gets on with them and is willing to take on the responsibility that comes with raising children.

If you die before your children reach the age of 18, your executors look after any money which will be inherited by the children. Some people choose to name their guardians as executors, so that they can spend the money for the benefit of the children. Others choose to name separate executors – so that the guardians have to ask for money for the children’s upbringing – an extra check that the money is actually being spent for the benefit of the children. There is no right or wrong way to do this and every family situation is different.

You can, of course, choose a secondary guardian who will be appointed guardian should the original guardian pass away.

If you have any further questions about appointing a guardian in your Will, please do not hesitate to get in touch. I, Amanda Harris, am a trained lawyer and a member of the Society of Will Writers. I visit my clients in their own homes at their convenience and am based in West Bridgford, Nottinghamshire. You can find out what my clients have said about my work on my website or get in touch by phone 0115 8780417 or email at