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Guardians For Your Children

Everyone who has children under the age of 18 must appoint Guardians to look after their children in the event of their untimely death. If they do not, then the authorities will make the decision as to who should care for them. Clearly this has immense implications for their general welfare and happiness. This fact alone belies the assumption that younger people do not need to make a Will. For anyone with dependants it is impossible to overstate the importance of having an up to date Will.

What is a Guardian?

Guardians are appointed by someone who has parental responsibility for a child-and the appointment passes this power on. Parental responsibility is defined as "the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which by law the parent of the child has in relation to the child and his property".

Who has Parental Responsibility?

The birth mother always has parental responsibility but not necessarily the natural father. Therefore the biological mother can always appoint guardians providing the father does not have parental responsibility. The father will only have parental responsibility in the following circumstances:
  • If he was married to the mother at the time of the birth or subsequently marries her
  • If the child was born after the 1st December 2003 and he is named on the birth certificate
  • If he was awarded parental responsibility either through an agreement with the mother or a court order
  • If everyone who has parental responsibility has died, then the power will rest with the local authority who will be responsible for the care of the child.

Financial Arrangements

Guardians should be made aware of their appointment and be willing and able. The will should also make provision for the maintenance of the children. The easiest way is by means of a trust fund. The guardian may be appointed a trustee of the fund depending on the parent's wishes. It is important that the trustees have the appropriate powers to advance income and capital for the education, well-being and advancement of the children. Our consultant will be able to offer advice and guidance in this vital area.
"Very helpful advice in producing these legal documents"

Mr & Mrs Royston of Ash