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Appointing guardians in your Will
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Home / Making a Will / Creating your Will / Appointing guardians in your Will

If you have children under the age of 18 you will probably want to appoint a guardian to look after them in the event that you die before they reach the age of 18.

What is the role of a guardian?

A guardian’s role is to take over responsibility of your children in the event that you die before they reach the age of 18. A guardian is responsible for the day to day care of your children and will be responsible for deciding how your children are brought up, looked after and educated.

Normally a guardian will be appointed as a trustee for your children as well. As a trustee they will be responsible for taking care of your children’s finances until they reach the age of 18. If you do decide to appoint your guardian as a trustee, it is advisable to appoint another independent trustee, such as a solicitor or accountant, so as to guard against any conflicts of interest.

How are guardians appointed?

To appoint a guardian you should name your choice of guardian in your will.

How should I choose who to appoint as a guardian?

Before appointing a guardian you should consider whether your proposed guardian is able to provide a suitable environment in which to care for your children.

You should check with your proposed guardian whether he or she is willing and able to take on the role of a guardian and make sure that they understand what their responsibilities would be in the event that you die.

Can I appoint a guardian even if I don’t have parental responsibility for my children?

The appointment of a guardian will only have effect if you have parental responsibility for your children at the time of your death.

What if the guardian dies before my children reach the age of 18?

It is sensible to appoint alternative guardians in your will to take the place of your preferred guardians if they should die before your children reach the age of 18.

Can I change the guardian I have appointed?

Sometimes it will become necessary to change the guardian you have appointed, for example if the guardian has died or is no longer willing or able to take on the role. If you want to change the guardian you have appointed you can do this by writing a new will or a codicil.

What happens if a guardian isn’t appointed?

If you have children under the age of 18 and you fail to appoint a guardian to look after them in the event that you die before they reach the age of 18 the Court will appoint guardians for you. It could take several months for the Court to appoint a guardian and in the intervening period your children could be taken into care. A Court appointed guardian will not necessarily be the person you would have preferred to look after your children.

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If you are a couple and wish to leave all your assets to each other then you could save money by making  Mirror Wills. You can also use Mirror Wills if you whish to leave your estate to the same beneficiaries. 
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