Guardianship in Wills: What you need to know……..

by Dec 27, 2017Blog

What is holding you back from securing your children’s future if something should happen to you?

Putting off making a Will can be very risky for your children’s future.  By not having a Will in place with a Guardianship clause, you potentially risk your children having to go through court battles, family disputes, and possibly even foster care!

This might seem extreme, but I’m afraid unfortunately it does happen.

By naming Guardians in your Will, you have a voice in deciding who will raise your children if you die. Dying without a Will in place, or failing to name a guardian in your Will, means that the court will determine who should get custody over your children.

If your children’s other parent is still alive (provided they have parental responsibility) then guardianship will automatically pass to them, unless disputed.  However, if the child’s other parent is unfit, unwilling, deceased, or otherwise unable to care for the child, the court will appoint someone they think will best serve the child’s needs and demands.



Not too appealing that a stranger gets to decide the fate of your children, right?

Selecting your children’s Guardian is one of the most important reasons (if not the single most important) for having a Will, and yet so many people delay making their Will because they do not want to make this hard decision and risk upsetting a family member.

There are a number of factors to bear in mind when making your choice of Guardians, and it should be the combined effect of these factors that need to be considered.



Here are some important considerations when deciding who to appoint as Guardians

  1. Is your chosen guardian physically able to handle the job? 

Your Guardian will be responsible for your children until they reach 18 years old.

Therefore they should be physically capable of taking on these responsibilities, especially if your children are currently very young.

For example, if you choose Grand Parents, will they still be able to handle the task in 10 years’ time?

  1. Do they have children of an age close to that of your children?

It’s important to consider the family dynamic, for example, would adding 2 more children to an existing family unit be the best decision?

  1. Do they have the time to dedicate to raising your children?

Caring for children can be very time consuming (as a parent to primary school aged twins, I know this all too well!)  Therefore, would your chosen guardian have the time that is needed to fulfil your children’s needs and demands, and would they be willing to make life changes to accommodate this?  For example, leave full time employment or reduce their working to part time.

  1. What about the finances?

Many of my clients worry about whether their chosen guardian would be able to finance the upbringing of their children.  As all parents know, children are very expensive and it is a lot to ask of a guardian to make such a big financial commitment like this.  However, it is possible for guardians to request funds that have been ‘set aside’ (put into a Minors Trust from your estate) from your chosen Trustees to help towards the maintenance of the child if needed.

  1. Would your children have to move?

Where your chosen guardians live in relation to your children’s school, friends and other relatives, may be important. Would you be comfortable with your children having to move away from all that they know to live with your guardians? (Although for some this may be necessary!)

  1. Does your choice of Guardian share your moral beliefs, and have a genuine concern for your children’s welfare?

This may seem an odd question, after all you’ve chosen them, but it remains an important consideration!

  1. What’s the Guardian’s age?

Legally, your chosen guardian must be over 18 years old to be appointed.


In summary, the important considerations to make when deciding your guardians when writing your Will are the person’s physical ability, the age of their own children, the time they have to care for your children, their financial situation, their living location, their morals and beliefs, and their age.



Here is some further advice to help you chose the most suitable Guardians for your children:

  • The number of Guardians you can choose

Many people prefer to appoint two people as Guardians (typically a couple).  You can choose up to four people though.  However, the more people you choose, the more likely there could be problems.

Regardless of how many people you choose as Guardians, they will all have your children’s best interests at heart, after all it is human nature to protect and care for children.  However, there may be differing opinions about how to raise your children.  If the Guardians are unable to agree, this could lead to conflict and, ultimately, further distress for your children.

  • Naming different Guardians for different children

You can name different Guardians for different children if you so choose.  Parents may do this, for example, there are children from previous relationships to consider.

  • Naming a Guardian and someone different to handle your finances

Some parents name one person to be the children’s Guardian, and a different person to look after financial matters.  Often this is because the person who would be the best surrogate parent would not be the best person to handle the money.

It also avoids any hint of a conflict of interest over money.

What is holding you back? 

When my twins were born and I was faced with the ‘guardianship’ dilemma, it was one of the hardest decisions to make!  Many of my clients, and prospective clients, seem to struggle with the same dilemma so here is my advice, as a Professional Will Writer and a mum!

  •  Talk it through with the child’s other parent.
  • Take the time to talk with the people you’re considering – one or more of your choices may not be willing, and/or able to accept the responsibility.
  • Most importantly, stop putting it off, the decision won’t get any easier over time and if the worst did happen who will be left to deal with it?

If you are putting off writing your Will because you can’t decide on the fine detail, or if it’s awkward for you to choose an appropriate Guardian, then there is no need.  By discussing your situation and concerns with a professional, this usually helps make the decision process easier.

I offer appointments in the comfort of your own home and at a time to suit you, including evenings and weekends.  It is a process that can be dealt with relatively quickly, and it can save you hours of stress trying to figure out what is needed.


Most importantly it will provide you with the peace of mind, knowing that you have a valid Will in place, that won’t fail you or your family during their time of grieving.

To make your appointment, or for an informal chat, please feel free to contact me via email: or phone: 01953 711 950 / 07972 212 355

Please note that this information is provided as a guide only and in accordance with the current laws as at the date of publishing. 


About me and Trusted Law LtdNatalie Chapman

My name is Natalie Chapman – company director of Trusted Law Ltd, a wife to Darren and a Mum to our twins. 

To read more about how Trusted Law Ltd was establish please click here.

 I have personally visited each of my clients and enjoyed my time getting to know each of them, listening to their tales and stories and making sure I fully understand their needs.  If you would like to discover what my clients say about us, please feel free to read my Client Testimonials.