Choosing a Guardian

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This is a tough subject to talk about, we get it. It’s also one of the most important decisions you can make in your Will for any children you have under the age of 18. A Guardian is only needed if both parents pass away, or if one parent passes away and the remaining parent isn’t capable of being a Guardian. The crazy part is if you don’t name a Guardian in your Will anyone can come forward and make a case for guardianship. It is ultimately up to the Family Court, after taking into account any of your wishes, to determine who should look after your children – so without a Will there might not be any evidence of your wishes.

Whoever you choose to be your child’s Guardian will be responsible for contributing to their overall welfare and upbringing. Interesting fact: A guardian appointed by a Will (also known as a testamentary guardian) can make key decisions such as where your child lives, goes to school, or any changes to their name, but it doesn’t automatically mean they’re responsible for the day-to-day care (custody) of your children. For more info, check out the Care of Children Act 2004.

Important tips for choosing your Guardian:

If you know someone who you think would be a wonderful guardian, make sure you talk to them first and ask their permission. Both you and your potential guardian should be comfortable with the decision, and understand how this choice could affect both everyone impacted in the future.

If they agree, have a good conversation with them about some of your values and the hopes you have for your child's future. We also suggest creating a Letter of Wishes when naming a Guardian – this is a document that outlines how you want your children raised when you’re no longer there. This isn’t a legally binding document, but it can offer your Guardian some guidance on things such as: which schools you wish your children to attend, or where you want them to live etc. You can store this information in your digital vault if you are a member of Footprint.

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