Your children are the most important people in your life and you would do anything to protect them, you are their guardians – but what about if you aren’t around any more? Let’s think about the situation where you and your partner have both passed away, who will bring up your children then?
Most people assume that it will automatically be a family member – your parents, grandparents, brother or sister are what we most often hear. After all you would want family involved and you certainly wouldn’t want total strangers bringing up your children – teaching them right from wrong and imparting their values to your children – would you?
If you die without making a will then you are said to have died Intestate – in other words you have nothing written down regarding the legal guardians for your children. In that case the courts will take the view that you had no specific wishes for anything at all, after all – you didn’t bother to document it did you? So it can’t have been that important can it?
Your minor children are now officially “at risk”, after all there is no adult around to make decisions on their behalf is there? Clearly your children can’t be left exposed like that – there are things that children simply can’t do – one example being to consent to medical treatment – so the courts have no option but to appoint Legal Guardians for them. That’s alright then isn’t it? Parents or siblings will step in to the role. Unfortunately it isn’t quite that simple – the courts are likely to appoint the Social Services team from the local authority. The appointed guardian won’t go and live in your family home – the children are placed into foster care. Hopefully they will be kept together but there are no guarantees.
You have just died and now your children have been removed from the family home because you never got around to simply writing it down. Your family are now faced with the nightmare of having to go to court to apply for custody. Expensive and time consuming and upsetting for your children.
Want to make sure that this doesn’t happen? then sit down with a planner from Wellingborough Wills and make sure that you wishes are recorded in your will and tell the guardians that you have appointed them.