Parents often worry what will happen to their children in the unlikely event of them both passing away whilst their children are still minors (under the age of 18).
Peace of mind can be gained by appointing guardians in your Will. Guardians are usually people that you trust to look after your children, such as the children’s aunts or uncles, grandparents or godparents.
A Will takes effect on your death and therefore the appointment of a guardian only takes effect at this time.
Once the appointment has taken effect, a guardian will be given parental responsibility for the child. This means that they have the authority to make important decisions such as where the child will be educated or if they require medical treatment. If a person, who has not been appointed guardian in a Will, cares for someone else’s child, they do not have parental responsibility and are therefore limited in the decisions they can make for the child.
It should be noted that a guardian is not obliged to financially support a child from their own resources. A child’s inheritance is usually held on trust until they reach a certain age. Before the child reaches the age to inherit, trustees of the Will have the power to apply the income and capital for the benefit of the children and can allow for children’s expenses (such as school fees) to be paid to the guardian.
If you wish to make a Will or discuss this further please contact Ann Coutts on 020 8502 3991 for more information.