If The Unthinkable Happens – Naming a Guardian for Your Children

It is easy to assume that a Will only contains details of how your finances will be distributed once you have passed away. However, a Will can contain anything you want to ensure happens in accordance to your wishes when the time comes.

There is nothing in life more precious than our children. During our lifetime we devote our wholes lives to them. The thought of us not being there for them does not bear thinking about. However, if something was to happen to you as parents who would step in and look after your children? You can choose who you would want to do this in a Will.

Writing a Will can offer you the peace of mind in knowing that your children will grow up in a loving and safe environment. A Will allows parents to make their own decisions about Guardianship by expressing their preference for who the Guardian for their children should be. A Will also allows parents to explain why their chosen Guardian would be appropriate for their child.

 

What happens if you do not name a guardian for children?

If no Guardian is named, the situation is likely to resolve in one of three ways:

  • if no Guardian comes forward, your children could be placed under the protection of social services;
  • if several potential Guardians come forward, a messy custody battle could result and the courts will grant custody of the child to the applicant who the judge deems most appropriate directed by the evidence in front of them;
  • if a single Guardian comes forward, they will have to apply to the courts for formal custody.

 

In each of these circumstances, it is the family courts, and not the parents, who ultimately control custody of the children. Without a Will, blood relations are more likely to be appointed custody than other applicants. In spite of this, don’t assume that your family members will be automatically appointed Guardianship by the courts. Blood relation is only one of several factors that go into the decision-making process.

It is difficult for a judge to consider certain attributes like political or religious views, child raising values, integrity and ambition.

A properly-constructed Will allows you to pre-empt the ambiguity around the custody process in the event of death, and expresses preference for a Guardian that you decide is appropriate, regardless of whether or not they are your relatives. A Will also allows you to create a trust that could be used for some of the costs that a Guardian may face after taking custody for example, for healthcare or education.

Without sounding morbid, no-one knows when their Will is going to come into effect; it could be next week, it could be many years into the future. Either way it is a huge sense of relief to have a Will done in your lifetime so if the unthinkable does happen you are prepared. At Nayyars Solicitors we will ensure your wishes are adhered to. We recommend that you write your Will today and can provide you wish a fixed fee service in respect of this.

Lucy Kusumah
Paralegal

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