Appointing the right guardians for your children can be one of the most important decisions that you will ever make as a parent. There are a number of things to consider when appointing guardians, which can make the decision a difficult one.
In recent weeks, several clients have realised the importance of appointing guardians, but have found it difficult to decide who it should be. This has resulted in the process being delayed whilst they try to make their decision.
Therefore, I felt it important to outline some of the things to consider when appointing guardians for your children, that may help you to reach your decision. These are as follows:
How many children you have:
Consider how many children you have, and if any guardian that you choose would be willing and able to take care of them all. The responsibility of taking on one child is very different to those associated with a larger family, such as four or more children. More children generally means the guardian would need a larger house, car and may even need to give up their job to look after them all. The financial implications are also usually much higher.
How many children they have:
Do they have their own children? If they already have children themselves, perhaps they would not be able to take responsibility for your children no matter how much they may want to. At the time of writing your Will you may choose someone who doesn’t have their own children. As time progresses they could have a family of their own. You will need to check with them if they would still be willing to act as a guardian for your children, once they become parents themselves. If not, you will need to update your Will accordingly.
Another point to consider here, is their parenting skills/experience, or lack of. If you choose someone who is a parent, you may have seen how they parent their own children, and this can give you an idea of how they would parent your children. You may decide not to appoint someone who doesn’t already have children, if their lack of experience is a concern for you.
Their attitudes and beliefs:
Are you religious? Do your chosen guardians share your religious beliefs? Perhaps they are of a different religion to you, and this could have an impact on your decision. Another consideration is their general beliefs and values. Do they closely match yours? Will they raise your children to have the same values that you would?
Their financial situation:
This one is always a difficult topic. Are your chosen guardians financially stable? Do they already struggle to get by each month on what they have? This can have an impact on not only if they would be willing to be guardians, but also the kind of life your children would have. Would they be able to reduce their working hours to take care of your children? Their financial situation may not be a concern for you, should you set up a Bereaved Minors Trust, to help your chosen guardians to support your children until adulthood.
The age of your children:
The needs of a child depend hugely on their age. Would your chosen guardians be able to take care of a young baby or toddler, or even a teenager? As your children get older, your choice of guardian may change too and this would be something to consider and reevaluate as the years go by.
The age of the guardians:
For most people, their first choice of guardian is the child’s grandparents. It is worth considering how old they are before making this decision. The older they are the more difficult they may find it, particularly with very young children, or during the teenage years. They are also more likely to pass away before you.
Their relationship with your children:
Bear in mind that your chosen guardians do not have to be a member of your family. They could be a friend or someone that you are close to. But you should consider if they are they someone that your children know? Do they like them? Do they get on well? You will want to make sure that your children feel comfortable with the people that you choose as guardians.
It is important to consider where your chosen guardians live. One day your children may need to go and live with them. If they live far away, will this mean that your children will need to move to a new school? Will they be moved away from their family and friends? You will need to consider what impact this could have on your children.
These are just a few of the things to consider when appointing guardians for your children. There may be other things that you wish to take into account that are personal to you and your own situation. Hopefully this list will assist you in making a decision about who is the right person to be a guardian for your children.
You can find out more about appointing guardians for your children by requesting your free copy of our guardianship factsheet. Simply fill in the contact form below and we will be in touch!