Ensuring your children are cared for if you die is a morbid but realistic situation that causes so much heartache and turmoil for a family when it happens, if plans have not been put into place.
Appointing Guardian(s) for your child/children is so important, possibly one of the most important decisions you will make prior to your children reaching the age of 18, as you need to think very seriously about things such as:
- Providing the child with a home
- Protecting and maintaining the child
- Being responsible for the child’s discipline
- Dealing with the education of the child
- Influencing the child’s religion
- Being responsible for the child’s health and welfare
- Looking after the child’s finances and property
Whilst there is no need for a married couple to appoint each other to be the guardians of their own children, they already have that responsibility, you might want to appoint a guardian if:
- You are a single parent
- You are cohabiting and the children are not the children of your partner
- You want to make provision for the situation should you and your spouse/partner both die
Bear in mind that if you don’t appoint a guardian and your children are left without a parent before they reach the age of 18, then the courts will appoint guardians. However, they will not necessarily be the people whom you would have chosen and there may be a period, pending the appointment, when your children have to be taken into care. By making an appointment in your Will you can take steps to help ensure that the people whom you choose and, possibly just as importantly whom your children would choose, are appointed as guardians.
The role of a guardian is to be responsible for your children in the event that they are orphaned before reaching the age of 18 and to attend to their day to day care, welfare, upbringing and education.
The guardian can also be appointed to act as the trustee for your children and to be responsible for their finances until they reach the age of 18. For example, you may have been able to leave your children a substantial sum under your Will, via a life insurance arrangement, or something similar, to pay for their upbringing and education which will be held on trust for them until they reach the age of 18. If you do make a guardian a trustee also, then it would be wise to appoint another, independent trustee, for example a solicitor, to prevent problems from arising if there is a disagreement between the child and the guardian as to what the child needs and also to guard against fraud or misappropriation of the funds.
When money really matters!
In order to provide the Guardians with a regular form of income without forcing the issue of selling your personal belongings and assets, therefore leaving them in a “Trust Fund” for your children to receive when they do turn 18, you can arrange a simple and very cost effective way of doing this.
Our “Guardianship Protection” plan enables you to decide and agree upon a regular monthly amount of money to be paid to the Guardians, who would be named as the beneficiaries of the policy – the amount agreed upon can be as little as £500 per month or up to £5000 per month (although the latter is very rare!). This benefit can be paid for a set period of time, traditionally and quite commonly, this is set to coincide with your youngest child reaching the age of 21.
By doing this, the appointed guardians have no financial pressures to consider, do not have to think about or decide quickly on how to realise your assets and perhaps make decision that assist them immediately but may not be in your children’s best interests in the longer term.
“NOTE” Will writing is not part of the Quilter Financial Planning offering and offered in our own right. Quilter Financial Planning accept no responsibility for this aspect of our business. Will writing and Trusts are not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).