Who will look after your children when you are gone?

Nobody likes to consider their mortality, least of all when they are parents to a young child or children. Many cannot bear the thought of leaving their little ones parentless and orphaned and often assume that they will automatically go and live with their nearest relative if the worst were to happen.

In England, the law states that if you are an unmarried couple and one parent is not named on the child’s birth certificate, as the person not named does not have an automatic right to take care of a child if the other parent dies.

For this reason, it is extremely important that parents of children under the age of 18 have Wills in place to deal with the appointment of guardians if one or both parents die. This avoids unnecessary issues for your family and children in the future.

When choosing who to appoint as guardian(s) for your children, you should consider their suitability. Relevant factors are their age, health, living circumstances, location (are they close to your children’s school, friends and family?), whether your children knows the person or people and whether that person will raise your child or children as you would have with regard to your values, morals and beliefs.

It is also important to know that any assets left to your children in your Will for their benefit will be held in Trust if you die while they are under the age of inheritance and advancements can be made for the benefit of their education, maintenance and upbringing. While you may think that your chosen guardians may also be the best trustees for money held for your children, this may not be the case and it is often wise to have someone independent.

If you are a parent, it is essential you deal with appointing guardians for minor children, and even more so if you have children from previous relationships or you were an unmarried parent at the time and you are not named on a birth certificate.

If you would like further information regarding writing Wills, please contact eloise@sentrylegals.co.uk or any member of the team.


The blog postings on this site solely reflect the personal views of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views, positions, strategies or opinions of Sentry Legals Limited. All comments are made in good faith, and neither Sentry Legals Limited nor the author will accept liability for them. No advice is given in any posting. Please contact your adviser for more information or advice.

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