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Parents and wills: planning for your child’s future

Adapting to the busy life of a parent isn’t easy and settling into a routine takes a little time, even if you’re not new to parenting.

With so much to consider you may not have even thought about making a will, but it is an important responsibility that you have to your child. So set a little time aside to plan for your child’s future in the event that you are not here to care them.

Things parents need to consider:

Appointing guardians

Who would you want to appoint as guardians if you and your partner were to die? The appointment of a guardian is only the expression of a wish. Therefore, any decisions about where your children live and who is to look after them will always be made in accordance with the children’s best interests.

Whoever you appoint will acquire parental responsibility for your child until they reach 18, so discuss it with them and make sure they can handle the responsibility. You can nominate more than one person so it would be wise to also nominate a substitute.

Appropriate age to inherit

At what age would you want your child to inherit? You can choose whatever age you feel appropriate. If there isn’t a will they will automatically inherit at 18.

Also consider who you would want to take care of your child’s inheritance until they were old enough to manage it themselves. Bear in mind this person will have control of your child’s finances so make sure you trust them to safeguard your children’s assets, which could be property as well as money. It’s a good idea to nominate at least two people just in case one of them can no longer take on the role when the time comes.

Children with special needs

If your child has special needs you will want to ensure that any money they inherit does not affect any benefits and the inheritance is protected if the child is vulnerable.

Stepchildren or foster children

If you have stepchildren or foster children you will need to specifically include them in your will as they are not automatically covered.

Family finances

Think about how the expense of bringing up your child will be met – is your estate likely to cover this?

Life insurance and pensions

While these can be included, they  may not automatically pass to your children under the terms of your will – it is advisable to  contact each provider and nominate your child as a beneficiary.

Next steps

Once you are happy with all your decisions, contact a professional will writer who will help you to put everything together so that your plan for your child’s future is secure.

Reviewing your will

Things change and sometimes even the best laid plans come unstuck. If there is a major change in your life make sure this is reflected by updating your will.

In any event, you should review your will every 5 years or so to check that it still meets your needs. This will also give you the chance to reassess your original choices and make sure that the people you nominated are still suitable for the roles.

Remember – if you remarry or enter into a civil partnership any existing will is automatically revoked, so you will need to write a new one.

Need more details?

If you would like more information, or simply a chat about your options, contact our friendly team on 01302 320621 or email