If you have children, you will want to ensure that you are legally covered to provide for them in the worst-case scenario. If you die whilst your children are still under the age of 18 the responsibility of looking after their lives will fall to another person, a guardian. If you want to go through a legal process where you choose a guardian to look after your children in the event of your death it is important to have legal support on your side. Choose to work with a team of solicitors that have experience in helping parents of children provide for their futures in terms of distribution or wealth and estate through a will, and through creating a testamentary guardianship.

A ‘Testamentary Guardianship’ is the process in which a guardian is appointed to look after a child in the event of the death of a parent (or both parents). There are many ways in which a parent can choose a guardian for his or her child/children, but once this has taken affect the appointed guardian will be responsible for the child in the same way as the parent, in the event of a death.

Choosing a guardian for your child is an important process to undertake and should never be taken lightly. It might seem that an obvious choice for a guardian is a close relative, but this isn’t always a convenient option due to distance or because there is no significant relationship between the parents and that person in the first place. A close family friend, who knows your children, is a similar age and has a similar lifestyle, and possible has kids of a similar age, might be a better option to explore.

Although you will be providing for your child in your will financially, it is also important to choose a guardian who has a solid financial footing and can afford to take on board your child without it having a detrimental impact on all concerned. If your child is a teenager it is also beneficial to talk with them and discuss the options, as his or her input could be invaluable as to the final decision you make.

A testamentary guardian can be appointed in a will, or in writing and signed and dated by the parent or guardian of the child. Upon the death of the testator the testamentary guardian will obtain parental responsibility for the child concerned if the child has no surviving parent with parental responsibility for him or her, or a child arrangements order or residence order was in force, naming the testator as the person the child must live with.

Appointing a guardian to look after your child in the event of your death is an important process that must be taken seriously. In order to ensure that all the legal boxes are ticked and that the process is undertaken effectively it is vital that you choose to hire a team of solicitors that understands the process, all potential legal obstacles and can support you throughout the entire process.