What parents should know about appointing a guardian for their child in their will

How to appoint a guardian for my child

Your child is the most important thing in the world to you, that is why you should make sure that you have thought about them in every eventuality.

What is a guardian?

A guardian is someone who will take care of your child in the event of your death. They will take on all parental responsibility and be responsible for their care.

Why should I appoint a guardian?

If you do not appoint a guardian for your child, then it will be a matter for the Courts to decide. This may not be the person you would choose, so it is essential you make your wishes known in your Will.

Many people mistakenly believe that the custody of their child will automatically go to their partner or their next of kin, for instance, their mother or sister. However, this is not the case. So to ensure your guardian of choice, you must state it in your Will.  

Who should I appoint as my child's guardian?

Will your partner be your child’s guardian?

It is important to note that guardians will only be called upon if there are no surviving parents, which are those with parental responsibility. So if your partner does have parental responsibility over your child, then they will become the guardian. Similarly, mothers automatically have parental responsibility, as do fathers if their name is on the birth certificate.

Who should I appoint as my child’s guardian?

Choosing who to appoint is an important decision to make. Most people will likely choose a close family member such as a grandparent, sister, brother or aunt. In some cases, people will choose a close family friend.

When choosing, you should consider some important criteria. Does the person you are choosing share the same values as you and will they instill them in your child? Are they responsible? Do they have the means to care and provide for your child? Is your child familiar with them (and like them)? Do they live close by? Do they already have their own children?

These are all important things to consider before deciding on a guardian.

When should I appoint a guardian for my child?

If you have a child under the age of 18, the sooner you choose a guardian for them and include them in your Will, the better.

Next steps

Once you have decided on a guardian for your child, then it is important to either update your Will, or if you do not already have one, make a Will.

For more information on family law matters, please call us today on 0800 614 722 to arrange a free and confidential initial consultation.