Parental Responsibility & Guardians are an important element to consider when drafting your Will, it is critical to consider how to protect those closest to you to ensure they are looked after according to your wishes.
The role of a legal Guardian
The role of a legal Guardian involves the responsibility of the upbringing and day to day care of a child until they have attained 18 years of age – their duties towards a child is the same as a parents. A Guardian’s role and responsibility for a child will take into effect when there is no one else with parental responsibility for the child.
A Guardian can request funds from the Executors from an Estate to pay reasonable costs connected with the health, education and welfare of any of your child(ren) until they are 18 years of age. However it is not advisable to make your Guardians and Trustees the same people as there could be an abuse of powers.
If a dispute did arise regarding appointment of Guardians or Parental Responsibility it would be up to the court to decide who the child’s guardians would be. Similarly, if a person were to die without appointing a Guardian and there is no one with Parental Responsibility it would again be a decision the court would make.
If the worst were to happen and a child(ren) is left with no surviving parents, having a legal document such as a Will, with your chosen Guardian’s specified, can ensure that your wishes are heard, rather than leaving it down to a court to decide who is best to raise your child(ren). You can, if you wish, leave a letter to be stored with your Will explaining the reasons for the appointment that you have made. This letter would not be legally binding but may be useful if a dispute did arise.