A Will can offer you the peace of mind in knowing that your children will grow up in a stable, loving and safe environment. A Will allows parents to make their own decisions as to who will look after the children if you are gone.
If you fail to appoint Guardians in a Will and your children are orphaned before they reach 18, the courts will appoint Guardians instead, but they won’t necessarily choose the people that you would have preferred to take care of your children.
So, what happens if you fail to name a guardian for your children?
If no Guardian is named, the situation is likely to resolve in one of three ways:
- If no Guardian is named, your children could be placed under the protection of Social Services;
- If several potential Guardians come forward, a custody battle could result and the courts will grant custody of the child to the applicant who the judge deems most appropriate;
- if a single Guardian comes forward, they must apply to the courts for formal custody.
In each of these circumstances, it is the family courts, and not the parents, who control custody of the children.
Without a Will, blood relations are more likely to be appointed custody than other applicants. Despite this, don’t assume that your family members will be automatically appointed by the courts to be Guardians. Being a blood relation is only one of several factors that are taken into consideration.
A professionally constructed Will allows you to prevent all this disorder and anguish at a time that your children need loving care and stability in the event of your death.
A Will also enables you to create a trust that can be used for some of the costs that a Guardian will face after taking custody for example, for healthcare, education, holidays etc.
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