Having a young family of my own I know how hard it is to even think about what would happen to our daughters, if both my husband and I were to die. Sometimes, it seems easier to push those thoughts to the back of your mind (and I know I have done this!). However, do you really know who would end up looking after your children if the worst happened? If you assume it will be your mother or sister, then you would be mistaken. The Court would have the final decision and you won’t be here to say if you think that decision is the wrong one.
You can do something now to protect your children. You can appoint a guardian or guardians for your children under your Will and they would have the responsibility to look after your children until they were 18 years old.
Choosing your guardians can one of the hardest decisions you will have to make. There are many factors to consider. Do the proposed guardians live locally or will your children have to uproot and go to new schools leaving all their friends behind? Will they have the time (& energy!) to look after your children or do they have their own children or work commitments which would make it hard on everyone? Do they actually want this responsibility? What do you think your children would want? Do you want the guardians to be responsible for your estate (i,e all your money and estate) or would it be preferable to have trustees appointed to handle this side of things? So many questions, I know, but they are important ones.
There rarely is the perfect solution when considering guardians. However, if you have a properly drafted Will in place so that your estate is protected for the children, as well as appointing the best guardians that you can, and then your job is done. If nothing else, do it for your children. Don’t forget that, once you have a Will, you can change your mind and appoint different guardians if the need arises or you just have a change of heart by having a new Will or a document called a Codicil.
If you wish to discuss any of these issues then please feel free to call Dawson Hart Solicitors as I will be happy to help.