Although not a pleasant thought, when planning for the future it is not just the financials that need to be discussed. If you have children, what happens to them if the worst should happen should be considered, such as who will look after them and where they will live.
When guardianship is entered into a will as a clause, this is known as ‘testamentary guardianship’. This is not something that can be decided whilst sat with you’re the person drafting your will, it should be discussed beforehand and the persons you would like to nominate involved in the conversation.
Another thing to consider is who has parental responsibility. Unmarried fathers will only obtain parental responsibility if they are registered on the birth certificate, there is a parental agreement between the mother and father or a court order.
If there is a dispute about where the children are to live, the courts will look first to those who have parental responsibility. If you are no longer with the other parent to your children, even if your children have had no contact with them, they will continue to have parental responsibility and the children may be placed in their care, if no other provision is made.
It is therefore important to appoint a guardian of your choice in your will, which will give them parental responsibility.
Alongside the guardianship being decided, you will need to ensure that there will be finances available to help raise the children. As each situation is different, we will be able to assist on providing the best options with the assets you have.
It is important to review your will regularly, as both your situation and your appointed guardians’ situations, may have changed. For example, you may have appointed your parents as guardians, which may have been good whilst your children were small, but will they be able to take on teenagers later in life?
You must also ensure that you appoint those who you trust to bring your children up. In a will you cannot insist how your children are raised, however you can leave an ‘expression of wishes’ alongside the will that can give guidance. We will also be able to help you with this.