Making A Will - Ensure Your Children Are Protected
Research has found that every day around 100 children lose a parent. It’s safe to say that no parent wants to think about a future where they aren’t around to look after their children, but there are ways to protect them should the unthinkable happen. Making a Will is the simplest, surest and most cost-effective method of addressing the issues arising upon the death of a parent.
Who would look after your child?
This will depend on whether a child has lost one or both parents. Where one parent has died, responsibility rests with the surviving parent if they have ‘parental responsibility’. You might be surprised to discover that not all parents will automatically have this. It will depend on the child’s date of birth, your marital status at the time and/or any subsequent agreement or court order.
Where both parents have died, the child either becomes the responsibility of the local authority (which could mean they are placed into care until a suitable person to look after them can be appointed) or that of a guardian chosen by the parents, if they have prepared Wills.
Choosing a guardian yourself enables you to take into consideration factors such as whether they would raise your child in the way in which you would wish, whether they would get on with your child, have other children, or live in the same area.
Where your child would live
Where one parent has died, a carefully drafted Will can ensure that your surviving partner has the security to stay in the family home, either by passing it to them directly or by allowing them to stay there during their lifetime, at which point it can pass to the children. On the death of the second parent, you should consider whether your child will live in their guardian’s home. If this is to be the case, the location of that home and the intended Guardian’s lifestyle will have a bearing on your choice of whom to appoint. Also, you can make financial provision with regard to the maintenance of your home to ensure that your child would be able to continue living there, if that is your wish.
Funding your child’s care
You will need to carefully consider whom you appoint as trustees of your Will, as they will have control of any funds left on behalf of your child. Appointing someone other than the guardians will prevent any conflict of interest but you need to ensure that both parties will work together. In making a Will, you can stipulate the age at which you wish your child to inherit as well as making specific provision as to what your trustees can spend your money on before your child reaches 18. You can also take steps to reduce any inheritance tax that might be payable.
As parents we spend so much time during the early years ensuring a secure future for our children that however upsetting it is to consider what might happen when we die, making a Will gives you peace of mind that your children will be well looked after should the unthinkable happen.
Make an appointment with one of our specialist Wills solicitors by calling 01225 485700 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: Child Bereavement Network survey 2014. http://www.childhoodbereavementnetwork.org.uk/research/key-statistics.aspx