An important reason for making a Will is to appoint one or more guardians for young
children you leave behind. If you do not do this then there is nothing automatic
about who will care for the children and the decision falls to the authorities.
A guardian takes on the ‘parental responsibility’ for the children until they reach
18. This means that they decide on all the normal matters involved with bringing
up children, including education, health etc.
A guardian does not automatically look after the children’s inheritance. This is
the role of the trustees (normally the executors of the Will). One person can act
both as guardian and executor/trustee if you decide that is appropriate, but often
people decide to separate the roles. For example, you may think that one particular
relative would provide the best personal care for the children but is hopeless with
money, whilst your best friend would see that the inheritance you leave for them
is properly managed.
If you and the children’s other parent are no longer together, you may be worried
about your ‘ex’ getting hold of the children’s money. Your Will cannot restrict the
rights that your ‘ex’ has towards the children (you need a family court involved
for that). However, with a Will in place you can guarantee that you children’s inheritance
is looked after by trustees and so kept away from your ‘ex’.
Remember - a Will lets you control who would look after your children if you pass
If you are involved in an arrangement involving surrogate parents for a child, then
you need to ensure you have special wording in place.
Hopefully the role of Guardian is never required - but by creating a simple Will
you can be sure who would take care of your children and who would look after their