Do you have children under 18? If so, having a Will and appointing legal guardians is vital in order to protect their future.

Yet, how do you make such a hard, potentially life-changing decision? This is why we have compiled a guide with everything you need to know about guardians, what responsibilities they will have and how you can ensure that you are making the right choice when choosing them. Make sure to read on below to find out more.

What is a Guardian?

A guardian is a person legally appointed the responsibility of your children after you pass if they are under 18.

If you don’t appoint a guardian, then it will be left up to the court to decide what is the best course of action for your children. So, enlisting a guardian in your Will is the perfect way to ensure that they are left with the right people.

What Responsibilities Will a Guardian Have?

A guardian will be responsible for fulfilling all of the typical roles of a parent, including;

  • Bringing them up until adulthood,
  • Giving them a safe place to live,
  • Maintaining their diet and health,
  • Making sure they get a full education.

Who Can Be Chosen as a Legal Guardian?

You can choose anyone to be a legal guardian over your children, such as parents, siblings or close friends.

You can also name your current partner as your children’s legal guardian if they do not already have parental responsibility. However, if your partner is named on the child’s birth certificate or you were married when the child was born, you will not need to legally appoint them.

It’s also important to point out that if you were to unexpectedly pass, your child’s surviving parent will take on full responsibility for them. Your chosen legal guardians will only be called upon if your children do not have any living parents with parental responsibility.

How To Choose the Right Guardian for Your Children.

When you are writing a Will, you will be able to choose guardians for any child under the age of 18. Yet, you must be confident that the appointed person can carry out all of the above responsibilities.

You can choose from parents, siblings and close relatives, yet this does still likely leave you with a long list of people. So, we have put together some questions for you to run through, to make the process that bit easier;

  • Does the chosen guardian have the same beliefs as you?
  • Will the chosen guardian allow your children to still enjoy their favourite hobbies?
  • Will the chosen guardian allow your children to attend the same school?
  • Does the chosen guardian have children of their own?

It’s also just as important to consider whether your guardians will be comfortable with taking on such a big responsibility, even if it’s unlikely that it will happen. So, make sure that you talk through it with them in full before they are included in your Will.

How Many Guardians Should I Choose?

When writing a Will, many often appoint only one legal guardian. However, you may want to name two if they have a partner, or if you want to assign guardians for each child separately.

Can I Change Who Has Been Appointed in my Will?

You will be able to update your Will at any time in the future. This is important to do when it comes to choosing a Guardian, as those who you choose today may look at things completely differently in 10 years time.

Can I Appoint Guardians For My Step-Children?

You will only be able to appoint guardians for your step-children if you have parental responsibility for them. If you have not been granted this, they shouldn’t be included in your Will.

Not having parental responsibility will also mean that you won’t automatically have responsibility for your step-children if your partner passes. If your partner would like you to continue to bring up their children after they pass, they should appoint you as a guardian in their Will.

How Can I Appoint A Legal Guardian in My Will?

To appoint your legal guardians, you must name them as chosen guardians in your Will.

If you are looking for further help with writing your Will, then it is important to seek advice from a professional, such as The Probate Bureau, experts in Wills and Probate Watford.