If you have children under 18 years of age, you may nominate in your Will, one or more persons to be your child’s Guardian in the event of your death. This may assist to avoid or minimise any future disputes between family members by making your intentions clear.
A Guardian is responsible for the daily and long term care and welfare of your child. The Guardian will have all the powers, rights and duties that are usually vested in the natural parents of the child. They must ensure that the child has adequate accommodation, clothing and education. The Guardian can make important lifestyle decisions on the child’s behalf.
Who can I choose to be my children’s Guardian?
Any adult you choose can be appointed as your child’s Guardian, regardless of whether they are related to you or your child. Whilst you can choose one or more persons to be the Guardian of your child, disputes may arise if you select more than one person. You can also select a substitute or alternative Guardian so that in the event that the original Guardian is unable or unwilling to take on the role, the substitute Guardian is able to fill the position.
Will my choice of Guardian be binding?
Whilst you can express your intention in your Will as to who should be appointed Guardian of your child in the event of your death, it is not always legally binding. A court can exercise discretion to appoint another Guardian if it considers it to be in the child’s best interest.
It is important to consider all short and long-term factors of your child’s welfare when appointing a Guardian. It is recommended that you discuss these factors with your intended Guardian and your wish to appoint them. If you have specific wishes as to how your child is to be raised (i.e. education, holidays, religion and housing etc.) you should create a Letter of Wishes.
Rockliff Snelgrove Lawyers can assist you with to prepare your letter of wishes and provide legal advice to you to assist you in making the very important decision as to who to nominate to be your child’s guardian and how to put in place the necessary arrangements to facilitate your wishes in this regard being met.
If you would like more information, contact us the Wills and Estates lawyers at Rockliff Snelgrove Lawyers for a no-obligation discussion with our friendly team.