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  • Writer's pictureWayne Barnett FCA | MIPW | STEP Affiliate

Appointing Guardians for Children in a Will

Although it is not something any parent or grandparent wants to consider, the death of a mother or father places huge stress on children. Not just the initial bereavement, but also the accompanying upheaval and monumental changes to their lives. Whilst it is not possible to protect children entirely from the loss, it is possible to take steps to ensure that the devastation caused by the death of a parent is not made worse by legal complications and uncertainty. As a grandparent, it's important to approach your children regarding this conversation with empathy and understanding to encourage your child to think about the future and how they want to protect their children. Without organising potential guardians for minor children, Social Services could place the child in care at a time when they are already traumatised.

Make Sure Your Choice of Guardian is Legally Binding

children running down a hill

Appointing guardians for children in Wills is an important aspect of estate planning,

especially for parents with minor children. Without a Will, or other formal deed, the court will appoint a guardian based on the best interests of the child, which may not align with the deceased parent's wishes.

When creating a Will, parents can appoint a guardian to take care of their children in case of their death. The appointment of a guardian is legally binding, meaning that the appointed person will have the legal responsibility of caring for the children and making decisions about their upbringing. Godparents have no legal standing.

Important Things to Consider

Here are some important considerations to keep in mind when appointing guardians for children in Wills:

  1. Choose someone you trust: The guardian you choose will have a significant impact on your children's lives. It is essential to choose someone who shares your values and parenting style and whom you trust to raise your children as you would.

  2. Discuss it with the chosen guardian: Before naming someone as a guardian in your Will, it is crucial to have a conversation with them to ensure they are willing and able to take on the responsibility. You should also discuss any preferences you have regarding your children's upbringing, such as education, religion, and extracurricular activities.

  3. Consider multiple guardians: It is a good idea to name more than one guardian in your Will, in case your first choice is unable or unwilling to take on the responsibility.

  4. Financial implications: What is often not considered is the financial implications of the nominated guardians looking after your child or grandchild, i.e would the guardians need to move to a larger home to accommodate the child? How would that be funded?

  5. Review and update regularly: Your choice of guardian may change over time as your circumstances and relationships evolve. It is important to review and update your Will regularly to ensure that it reflects your current wishes.

In conclusion, appointing guardians for children in Wills is an important aspect of estate planning for parents. It ensures that your children will be taken care of by someone you trust and who shares your values and parenting style. By following the above considerations, you can make an informed decision and provide peace of mind for yourself and your family.


For further information on preparing new Wills, or revising/reviewing existing Wills, please contact our friendly team via email to or call 26 600780.


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