Appointing Guardians - WHO, WHY and HOW
As parents our children are the most important part of our lives. We take care of them as babies and watch them grow to teenages then adults.
It's hard to think that we won't be around to watch them grow up, and it's equally hard to imagine someone else raising our children as well as we do.
However, we should be prepared for the unthinkable. Ideally, this would be by ensuring that we have chosen who we believe are the right people to take care of our children should the worst happen.
Think about who you would pick to look after your children, what things would you consider;
Values - would they raise your children with values similar to your own?
Their age and health - an elderly relative may not be able to keep up with the demands of young children
Financial situation - raising children is costly, someone who is financially unstable may not be able to support your children the way you would want
Do they have the space/time - is their home big enough? do they have children of their own?
Where they live - would you want your children to stay living in the same area? going to the same school?
Would they be willing - taking care of a child is a huge responsibility, are they happy to take on the role?
As you can see there are many questions and considerations to take into account when choosing guardians, but undoubtedly the most important consideration is whether or not your children would be happy and loved with the guardians you choose.
WHY- and this is the one that is widely misunderstood
If you do not appoint a guardian for your children and you/both parents die, then the responsibility, you would think, usually goes to a family member. However, the courts will typically have to appoint a guardian and it wouldn't necessarily be a family member. This decision is ultimately up to the courts and who they think should fulfil the role.
Even if a family member was appointed as a guardian it wouldn't necessarily be who you yourself would have chosen.
It is clearly the best advice to discuss your decision with those you would want to be guardians and to check they are happy to fulfil such a potentially demanding role.
You can then appoint the guardian/s legally by writing this into a Will thereby giving you some peace of mind should the worst happen.
Contact us for further information on this topic or to discuss writing your Will.