There are various major events in your life that should prompt you to think about making a Will, one of which is the addition of a child to your family. This is because if you pass away, that person who you assume will care for your child isn’t always the next in line!
You have just had a baby. At such a happy time you would understandably not be thinking about death and many families avoid such discussions. However, there are many assumptions around guardians and it does not always follow that the surviving parent will be the person to continue caring for your child.
In the case of the child’s mother she will always be able to continue to care for the child or children, however for the father of the child this may not be true.
The question of whether the child’s father can continue to care for the child after the death of the child’s mother will rely on whether or not the child’s father has parental responsibility. To determine this, you need to look at when the child was born and the relationship between the father and mother.
This is a specialist area of law. Our specialist private client team are able to look at individual circumstances and advise whether or not a child’s father has parental responsibility. If not, we can advise on how to deal with this situation with the use of a Will.
If the matter is not correctly addressed during parents’ lifetime, or parents do not make Wills, the Court will often have to be involved to resolve the situation and determine who has the right to continue to care for the child.
In the worst cases, if an agreement cannot be reached quickly about who is to care for the child then the child may be placed into foster care until such time as the Court has made a decision.
This is a time consuming process at what would be a very distressing time for the children and can be easily avoided.
The easiest way to ensure your wishes are carried out and that your children are cared for by the people you want is to make a Will. A guardian can be a parent, grandparent or other person you choose.
Please contact our specialist Wills Team for more information on making a Will and appointing a guardian.
The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.