Do you have Children under 18?

As a parent or parents of children under the age of 18, although not a pleasant thought, when looking at your estate planning and putting your wills or will into place, it is not just the financials that need to be discussed. If you have children under 18, what happens to them if the worst should happen?

Professional Will Writers can help guide you through the whole process and will help you consider what should happen after your death, such as who will look after them and where they will live.

If you want to name someone to look after your children if the worst should happen then guardianship must be written into a will as a clause, this is known as ‘testamentary guardianship’. This is not something that can be decided whilst sat with the person drafting your will, it should be discussed beforehand and the persons you would like to nominate involved in the conversation.

You can choose main guardians and then also reserve guardians just in case the main guardians cannot fulfil their duties.

Another thing to consider is who has parental responsibility. Unmarried fathers will only obtain parental responsibility if they are registered on the birth certificate, there is a parental agreement between the mother and father or a court order.

If there is a dispute about where the children are to live, the courts will look first to those who have parental responsibility. If you are no longer with the other parent to your children, even if your children have had no contact with them, they will continue to have parental responsibility and the children may be placed in their care if no other provision is made.

It is therefore important to speak with a professional will writer and appoint a guardian of your choice in your will, which will give them parental responsibility.

Alongside guardianship being decided, you will need to ensure that there will be finances available to help raise the children. You may want to read about sideways dis-inheritance  and consider trust planning within your will to protect your children’s inheritance.

 As each situation is different, speaking with a will writing expert is essential to ensure you are provided the best options to protect your loved ones and make sure the assets that you and worked hard for are passed to the ones you love.

It is important to review your will regularly, as both your situation and your appointed guardians’ situations, may have changed. For example, you may have appointed your parents as guardians, which may have been good whilst your children were small, but will they be able to take on teenagers later in life? If secure storage has been taken then you should be allowed to make free updates to your will which could include changing the guardians within your wills.

You must also ensure that you appoint those who you trust to bring your children up. When writing a will you cannot insist how your children are raised, however you can leave an expression of wishes (letter of wishes) alongside the will that can give guidance.

We at The WillMaker Group would be happy to help you put all of the above into place by writing your will and ensure that your loved ones are fully protected.

If you would like to speak to one of our experts about drawing up an LPA, ring us on 01603 927273 or email us at [email protected]

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