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06 April 2022

Who gets the kids when we’re gone?

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For more information on who will raise your children should you die get in touch with our Private Client team today on 01284 767766.

Nearly two thirds of adults don’t have a Will – this can mean when you die, your property and money could end up in the hands of someone you hadn’t intended. This goes beyond just your material possessions – your child/children could also be left with someone you wouldn’t necessarily have chosen yourself, had you had the chance to decide while you were still alive.

As parents, deciding who should look after the kids is vital – but not something many actually want to sit down and talk about.

The harsh reality is that parents often find themselves deciding between the most ‘appropriate’ relative for the job, however crude a process this might sound. Uncle Brian might live far away and often travels, but he’s always been wonderful with kids – then again, Auntie Flo, who has no kids, lives just down the road in a bigger house, but her new partner leaves something to be desired – many factors can play a part in ‘putting off’ this key but tough decision.

At the end of the day, it’s about ensuring your children remain as happy and comfortable as possible after you’ve gone. The reality of the trauma that this entails for the kids, is precisely what makes this decision one of the hardest any parent can have, but one that must be addressed sooner rather than later.

Despite the low statistical likelihood of both parents dying at the same time, it’s still the case that failing to plan is planning to fail, so start by making a Will. A Will is very likely to be the most important document a person makes in their life. Wills – although they’ve always been important – have become even more essential given the changes in the way we now live: divorce, remarriage, and bringing in children from previous marriages, to name but a few.

It’s essential to ensure your children have the best possible chances in life by appointing ‘Guardians’ (people to take parental responsibility of any children under 18 at their parents’ death). Your Will is the best place to record this. Your appointed Guardians will have all the same responsibilities as the child/children’s parents, including decisions on health, education and where they live. The consequences of not appointing a Guardian, either because you’ve died without a Will, or just didn’t get around to updating your existing Will, means that the Court will decide who looks after the kids.

It’s clear this generation’s children need more help than ever before to set themselves up in life, so make sure you’ve appointed the best person to guide them through that process should you both die. All it takes is a quick revision to an existing Will or putting a new Will in place, which needn’t take any longer than it does to set up a life insurance policy – and maybe that something that you should think about as well!

Refer to our Guide on Appointing Guardians For Your Children for more information.

Getting a Will made is so important, especially when you’re a parent. For more information on who will raise your children should you die get in touch with our Private Client Solicitors today on 01284 767766.

Where to find us

We have offices in Bury St. Edmunds, Sudbury and London.

Please note this article is provided for general information purposes only to clients and friends of Atkins Dellow LLP. It is not intended to impart legal advice on any matter. Specialist advice should be taken in relation to specific circumstances. Whilst we endeavour to ensure that the information in this article is correct, no warranty, express or implied, is given as to its accuracy, and Atkins Dellow LLP does not accept any liability for error or omission.

© Atkins Dellow LLP 2022

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