Having recently returned to work from maternity leave, I know how challenging life can be with balancing work and family life. Yet regardless of this, I know that my greatest asset, albeit probably my most expensive liability too, is my daughter!
When it comes to making a Will so many people shrug off the idea claiming that they have nothing to leave to anyone. However, your Will does not only cover your financial assets, but it can also determine who looks after your child or children in the event of the death of you and your partner.
It is often one of the most difficult conversations to have between parents and I, as a Wills and Probate solicitor at Phillips Solicitors, have sat in many a meeting with clients who have come to loggerheads when trying to decide who to appoint as Legal Guardians.
Most people have thought of who they want to be their Executors – the people named in a Will as responsible for sorting out the estate of a person who has died, to deal with the monetary side of their estates. But when it comes to taking on the role of Legal Guardian, this is often something people have not thought about and where the discussions can become heated.
It is important that both parents try to reach an agreement on who the Legal Guardians would be to avoid having potentially conflicting appointments. After all, whoever you appoint will take on parental responsibility for your children until they are 18 if you and your partner were to die.
The Legal Guardians you appoint will make decisions about important aspects of your child or children’s life, such as their education and where they live. However, a guardian is not required to financially support a child using their own resources, so it is important that you consider inclusion of a gift to your chosen guardians, or the flexibility of provision within your Will for the guardians to not be out of pocket. We can discuss this with you and include the relevant provisions within your Will.
You may also wish to consider leaving a letter of wishes to your guardians to let them know of any wishes you have in relation to the upbringing of your children (i.e. education and other activities and experiences).
While it is not easy to think of anyone else raising your child or children, by taking the time to consider this and update your Will with the appointment of Legal Guardians, will ensure that as parents, your wishes are met.
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This article is current at the date of publication set out above and is for reference purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied on as such. Specific legal advice about your specific circumstances should always be sought separately before taking any action.