What is a Guardian, and what do they do?
Choosing your child's guardian is one of the hardest, but also one of the most important decisions you can make. Your chosen Guardian will be responsible for contributing to your children’s overall welfare and upbringing (if your children are under the age of 18). A Guardian will help make key decisions such as where they live or go to school, but it does not automatically mean they are responsible for the day-to-day care of your children. For more info, check out the Care of Children Act 2004.
A Guardian is needed on the death of both parents, or one parent has passed and the remaining parent isn’t a fit Guardian for other reasons. If you don’t name a Guardian in your Will anyone can come forward and make a case for guardianship. It is ultimately up to the Family Court to determine who should look after your children. Generally, the Court takes any wishes you’ve expressed about your children in your Will into account. This means that without a Will, there might not be any evidence for your wishes.
Important tips for choosing your Guardian
Once you choose your guardian, ask them permission. Make sure they are comfortable with the decision, talk about how this addition would affect their family, and what the new family would look like. Discuss your values and the hopes you have for your child's future.
We also suggest creating a Letter of Wishes when naming a Guardian – this is a document that outlines how you want your children raised when you’re no longer there. This is not a legally binding document but can offer your Guardian some guidance on things such as which schools you wish your children to attend etc. You can send us your Letter alongside your completed your Will so we can store it safely for you.