In the UK a surprisingly sad statistic shows that 1 in 20 children under the age of 16 will experience the death of one or both parents. Why then, do so many young parents feel they do not need a Will? The problem is lack of information around the facts of what could (and does) happen.
My experience has shown that the general misconception is that ‘everything will sort itself out’, yet the facts are……. without a Will they won’t!
The most important consideration to make is who will be responsible for caring for your child if one or both parents are no longer alive, these are called Guardians! And the ONLY way to legally appoint guardians is by stating it in a Will.
Without a Will, your child/children’s guardians will be decided by the state. In extreme cases the courts could grant ‘parental responsibility’ to a local authority! A simple Will stating guardianship stops this and makes it clear to all your family and friends what your wishes are.
When deciding who you would want to be the guardian to your child/children should the worst happen, you need to consider a couple of things. The top priority is that the guardians will look after the children as you would have raised them. For this reason, consider which of your family members or friends share the same values as you. Also consider whether they are ‘able’ to care for your children. Grandparents may seem like the obvious choice, but you must consider how looking after young children will impact them, also remember, they will be guardians until the chid/children are 18. Will they be able to cope as years go on?
I also recommend nominating a reserve guardian, in case your first choice is unable to act. Although you can (and should) change your Will as circumstances change, I often see the ‘change Will’ task slip down the to-do list and often never get done (probably you if your reading this).
If you have or are expecting a child, I cannot stress enough the importance of writing your Will to nominate guardianship. Not only that, a Will can save your estate and beneficiaries LOTS of money and clear up any uncertainties that arise if you were to pass away.
My first child is due early June, so I am finally able to practice what I preach! I am passionate about the fact that young people need to be educated about the importance of needing a Will, Wills are NOT just for when you get older.