Ask The Legal Expert - Protecting Children with Will Provisions
- AuthorSean Boucher
My husband and I are thinking about making Wills, naming potential guardians for our pre-teen daughter. How do we get the detail right?
The sudden loss of parents brings legal complexities that can be hard for grieving children to cope with. So, you are wise to make contingency plans, in the unlikely event that you and your husband were both to die before your daughter is 18.
As well as making financial provision for your loved ones, your Will can be used to appoint a legal guardian to care for your child in this scenario. If you were to die without appointing a guardian then the Court will appoint one. For many families this isn’t ideal, since the Court may not reflect your wishes or those of your daughter.
A guardian will make important decisions about your child’s medical treatment and education, as well as acting as care-giver until they are adults.
So, you should consider:
- Who is best equipped to assume the responsibility of caring for your daughter physically, financially and emotionally?
- Have you broached the idea with the potential guardian? How do they feel about it?
- Do their values chime with yours?
- Do they live a long way away from your child’s school, or from your wider family?
- Do they have children? How do they get on with your daughter?
- Do you and your husband agree on the choice?
If you and your husband can agree on the same guardian your child’s life will be simpler. If not, you may nominate different guardians, but they will have to work together on decisions regarding your daughter’s upbringing. If they cannot, the Court will get involved.
You should also make financial provision to support your daughter. If you leave the residuary estate in trust for her, your executors, as trustees, have powers to use this money for the benefit of your child, or to pay it to the guardian for the same purpose. There are other styles of trust arrangements you can set up, and a legal professional will guide you through these options. The important thing is to leave clear instructions, under legal guidance, to make your wishes obvious.
JCP’s Lifetime Planning team is on hand for tailored legal support. For specialist legal advice, call Sean Boucher: 01267 266944 or: Sean.email@example.com
The question posed is based upon a hypothetical situation. Welsh is spoken at JCP Solicitors’ Carmarthen office.