Appointing a legal guardian in your will

If your children are under the age of 18, you should make a will and select legal guardians to safeguard their future. Everything you need to know about guardians, their roles, and how to choose one is right here.

Matthew Ridyard avatar

Matthew Ridyard

07 January 2022

In as little as 15 minutes, you can appoint guardians for your children using our online will writing service. However, before making a decision, it's critical to grasp exactly what this entails. We answer all of the important questions you might have about naming a guardian in your will in this article.

What is a guardian?

A guardian is the person who is legally responsible for your children if you die before they reach the age of 18. If you don't name a guardian, the courts will ultimately decide what's best for your children, so naming guardians in your will is a terrific method to have a say.

Guardians responsibilities

A legal guardian is responsible for all of the tasks that a parent would normally do, including:

  • Taking care of them until they exceed the age of 18

  • Providing them with a safe place to live

  • Keeping their diet and health in check

  • ensuring that they receive an education

Choosing legal guardians for your will

You can name guardians for any children under the age of 18 in your will. It's critical that the individual (or people) you choose are capable of doing all of the duties outlined above.

Even with your parents, siblings, and close relatives, you may still have a lengthy list of people to choose from. So here are some questions to think about to help you trim down your choices:

  • Do your guardians hold the same values as your family?

  • Is it possible for your children to continue to engage in their favourite activities?

  • Is it possible for your children to attend the same school?

  • Do the people you've chosen to be your guardians have children of their own?

The most important thing is that your guardians be at ease with their role, even if the possibilities of them being called upon are slim. So, before incorporating them in your will, always talk things over with them.

Who can be a legal guardian?

Anyone who does not already have parental responsibility for your children, such as your parents, siblings, or close friends, can serve as a legal guardian.

If your spouse does not already have parental responsibilities, you may be allowed to identify them as a guardian. There's no need to appoint a legal guardian if you were married when the child was born or if your partner was identified on the birth certificate.

It's crucial to remember that if you died unexpectedly, the child's surviving parent would be responsible for them completely. Only if there are no surviving parents with parental duty would your guardians be called upon.

How many guardians should i choose?

Most individuals name one legal guardian for their children when creating a will, but if they're a couple, you could wish to name two. You can also select guardians for each of your children independently, giving you complete choice over who your children would live with if you died.

Can i change guardians in the future?

You will be able to change your will at any point in the future if you use our online will writing service. When it comes to guardians, this is especially crucial because the people you choose now to look after them may be very different in a few years.

Appointing guardians for your step-children

Only if you have parental responsibility for your stepchildren may you designate guardians for them. You should not include them in the guardians part of your will if you have not been given parental responsibility.

This also means that if your partner dies unexpectedly, you will not automatically be responsible for your stepchildren. So, if you wish to continue raising their children, your partner should name you as a guardian in their will.

Important: If there are no surviving parents, a guardian is appointed. If the child's biological father is still alive and has legal parental responsibilities, the child's birth father will normally take complete responsibility for them.

If both parents die, what happens to the child?

If both parents die before naming a guardian, the courts will decide who will care for their children. It'll almost always be a close relative, but it might not be the person you'd pick.

If both parents die after naming guardians in their wills, the guardians named in the will will be contacted. They would then be in charge of your children until they reached adulthood.

Appointing legal guardians in your will

You can write a will in as little as 15 minutes from the comfort and privacy of your own home by using our online will writing service. You'll be able to appoint guardians for your children as part of this process. You simply need the person's full name and email address for this, but you may also provide their postal address or phone number if you choose.

After you've completed your will, our specialists will review it to ensure that your wishes are clear. Then you'll be able to print it, sign it, and file it away with the assurance that your children's future is secure.

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