We know that it’s a hard and uneasy thought to have, but also one which many parents do think about. Do you know who would look after your children if you died?
If you have shared parental responsibility and one parent passes away, this responsibility will automatically go to the other parent. This is the case whether you were still married or divorced.
However, if both parents passed away, or a parent with single parental responsibility died, the care of your child would not be so straightforward.
If you had single parental responsibility, there is no legal presumption that your child must live with their other biological parent.
The welfare of your child will be taken into consideration. For example, if a child has had no contact with a parent in many years, it may not be in the child’s best interest to live with that parent and lose contact with extended family and friends.
Likewise, if there was concern about the child’s well-being whilst under the care of the biological parent, the court may also intervene in this case. These are common concerns that single parents have.
The only way to avoid legal complications and uncertainty would be by appointing a guardian.
If no legal guardian has been appointed – who would look after your children if you died?
If no guardians have been appointed, your child/ren would then become the responsibility of the court. It is possible that the children may be taken into care until the Court appoints a guardian of its choosing.
Any family members who were close to a child can apply for an order protecting future contact with the child.
How can you protect your children and make sure they end up in the care of someone you choose and trust?
The simplest way to make sure that the people/person looking after your children is of your choosing, is to appoint a guardian.
If you have parental responsibility for your children, then you can appoint a guardian (or two if it is a couple) for your children in a Will.
It is advised that you discuss your wishes with the person/people you name as a guardian with them beforehand. Not only can you come to an agreement, but you will also avoid later disputes should it ever occur.
By naming a guardian/s, you can also have the peace of mind that should the worst happen to you, your children will be cared for as you wish.
For more related articles, see; Why you need a Will
For more information on Wills, see; Making, Amending and Reviewing a Will