Congratulations on your new born baby
If you have recently had a baby, you should consider writing a Will if you haven’t already done so.
A Will is more crucial than ever once you have a family. Not only will it mean you can provide for your child in your Will, or create a Trust to provide a regular income for your child, but it can also mean your child will be cared for as you wish should you die before they grow up. Speak to one of our professional Will & Estate Planning Consultants if you are about to have or have recently had a baby. We can advise you on the different steps to take to ensure the security of your family, giving you peace of mind for the future.
If you are an unmarried parent of a child, there are some important considerations in terms of your Will. Not only could your partner be without a home, leaving the baby and partner homeless if you die, but the baby may not inherit from you depending on your circumstances. A married father will be given parental responsibility in respect of the child automatically, however unmarried fathers may not.
Appointing a Guardian
You can also specify who should be guardian of your child, should you die before they reach the age of eighteen. This is extremely important, because failure to do so would mean the court will appoint a guardian. Until a guardian is assigned, your child could be put into the care of social services. The court does not always get it right in these situations, and your child could be raised by someone you may not have wished to appoint yourself. Your chosen guardian would be responsible for providing a home and daily care, be responsible and make decisions regarding your child’s welfare, education and health so the decision should be made carefully. A verbal agreement between family or friends will not be sufficient to satisfy the court.
Choosing a Suitable Guardian
You can choose whoever you wish to be a guardian. The law, however, stipulates that guardians must be mentally capable for the role, and be over eighteen. Picking a suitable guardian for your child has further considerations apart from choosing someone you trust to have your child’s best interest at heart. Other factors must be considered, such as whether they possess the same fundamental beliefs as you do, what their religious or moral beliefs are; whether their opinions on education, schooling, lifestyle and diet match yours.
It is also important to consider where the guardians live, and whether appointing someone is going to mean your child will need to be uprooted from their community and change schools. Where your chosen guardian lives abroad, you will also need to think about potential problems such as obtaining visas; either for the guardian or your child. It is important to ensure that your wishes are communicated in advance to your guardian. You should have a discussion with your chosen guardian, which can help prepare your guardian for the responsibility should it ever be necessary.
See our information page on Appointing a Guardian for more information.