A Guardian is a person appointed by a parent with parental responsibility, to care for their child or children if they are unable to do so themselves.
Guardians may also be appointed by a Court but as an appointment by the Court may well not be in accordance with your wishes then, it is best that you choose to appoint guardians during your lifetime, and of your own choosing.
The appointment of a Guardian does not take effect until the death or, after the parent becomes incapable of caring for their children themselves. Once appointed, the Guardian will have full parental responsibility just as if they were the parent.
The Guardian’s Duties
The Guardian will be responsible for the day-to-day upbringing of your children and would stand in your shoes in that respect. Doing all the normal things like organising holidays, birthday presents and all the everyday things that we take for granted.
The terms of your Will should be such that the executors and subsequently trustees can do all that is necessary to assist and help the Guardian or Guardians in financial terms.
Detailing in a separate document to the Will, an ‘expression of wishes’ letter to the trustees is often a very good way of ensuring that your child or children are brought up in the way that you would have wanted.
It is normal for the financial management to be separated from the day-to-day upbringing of children. Whilst the guardians have the daily responsibility for their care, it is often better that the financial control is handled by someone different, normally the trustees of the parent’s estate.
The two tasks demand different skills that may not always be found in the same person. It also means that the trustees, the guardians and, when they are old enough, the children, can share in what can be very difficult decisions to make.
Important points to note:
If you haven’t already done so then you should now make your will appointing Guardians for your child or children, this will keep Social Services and The Court of Protection out of their lives.
You should also create Lasting Powers of Attorney, should you become mentally or physically incapable in the future to look after yourself or children.
We at Stephen James Drury & Associates, will be happy to advise, assist and create these very important documents for you.
For even further guidance and information go to: www.gov.uk/guardians-allowance
For further information or assistance, please contact us via:
Telephone: (01529) 306005 or