Advice Admin & Legal How to Appoint a Legal Guardian in a Will

How to Appoint a Legal Guardian in a Will

Whilst most of us don’t want to think about what happens when we die, it's important for parents to have plans in place. It’s devastating to lose someone close to you and it’s really hard to even consider what it might be like for young children who are left behind. Here we go over appointing guardians for your children and what to consider when writing your will as a parent.

What is a guardian of a child?

A guardian is named in your will to take care of parenting your child in the case that there are no surviving parents. They would be the legal carer until your children are 18 years old. Many new parents write their will in order to name specific guardians for their children. This is to ensure that it’s not left up to the courts to decide.

Typically a child’s guardian takes over the traditional role of a parent and would be expected to care for a child in the same way. Some of these expectations include housing and educating a child until they reach adulthood.

How do I appoint legal guardians for my children?

The most common way to set legal guardians for your children is to write a will.

How do I choose a legal guardian for my children?

The answer to this question will be different for everyone, but it’s definitely important to talk with anyone you're considering as they'll need to know the responsibility that they'd be taking on.

Many people will choose other family members as guardians, or close friends that perhaps already have children.

Some common considerations are:

  • Do they hold similar beliefs as you?
  • Do they live close to your family and friends, or are they geographically isolated?
  • Would your child need to change schools?
  • Do they have their own children or pets?

Whilst the chance of both parents dying is low, this is a very important decision that you need to consider and then formalise in a will.

Why else should I consider appointing guardians?

Simply put, it can give you peace of mind. It’s important to know that your children will be cared for by someone that you would’ve chosen. By picking guardians, you'll know that your child is being brought up by someone familiar with them. If you don't choose, it'll be decided by the courts.

It’s useful to highlight here that if there's someone still alive who has parental responsibility then they'll take care of your child. Check to find out more about who has the legal rights and responsibility of a parent.

When is a child's guardian called upon?

If a child’s parents have both died, a guardian is called upon to take care of them until they're an adult.

Can I change the guardians appointed in my will?

Updating your will to reflect any changes in your circumstance is just as important as writing a will in the first place. With our online will you can freely update when you need and get your new version in no time - without any additional upfront cost.

Why else should parents write a will?

Having a will avoids chaos for your kids

Whilst this sounds quite dramatic, dying without a will can create a lot of stress for your family. Unless you have a will stating your wishes, it's the courts who decide what happens to your children and your estate. This uncertainty can be stressful for children involved and can sometimes lead to them being placed in the care of someone you wouldn’t have chosen.

Writing a will protects and secures your children’s financial future

It's key to write your children into your will. If you die without a will your estate is divided up according to the laws of intestacy. For traditional families this can work well, but these laws rarely take into account unconventional family structures or cases with step-children.

Leave specific gifts to your children

There may be specific items you want to give to your children. Often this might be something you've inherited yourself, such as a tradition family heirloom. By writing a will you can make your wishes known and have peace of mind that they will be fulfilled.

Write messages that your children can look back at in the future

Along with any specific gifts you'll also be able to leave messages for your children. You might like to explain why you've given them something or just write down a memory that you'd like them to think of you by.

Help plan a funeral that remembers you in the right way

Making a will also allows you to write any funeral wishes you might have down. After you've died a funeral is an important event for your family to grieve and remember you by. If you've inputted into the planning they can take solace in the fact that they're doing what you'd have wanted.

Want to write your will today? You can get started for free with our online will and come back any time that suits you.