Wills for guardianship Alex Truesdale Wills In Cobham Surrey

Appointing Guardians

Appointing Guardians. Our children are our most precious, and vulnerable, assets. Making a Will to appoint guardians for your children safeguards your loved ones after you have gone.

Alex Truesdale Wills Limited: A professional Will writing and estate planning service based in Cobham, Surrey and serving clients throughout Richmond, Wimbledon, London and the South East. 

Call: 07887 946557 to discuss nominating guardians in your Will and how to optimise your estate planning to meet your children’s needs.

Appointing Guardians

Appointing Guardians. Our children are our most precious, and vulnerable, assets. Making a Will to appoint guardians for your children safeguards your loved ones after you have gone.

Alex Truesdale Wills Limited: A professional Will writing and estate planning service based in Cobham, Surrey and serving clients throughout Richmond, Wimbledon, London and the South East. 

Call: 07887 946557 to discuss nominating guardians in your Will and how to optimise your estate planning to meet your children’s needs.

Why You Need To Appoint A Guardian For Your Child

If you have children under the age of 18 a Will is essential.  You should use your Will to appoint guardians for them, even if you have no material possessions to leave to them.

If you die without appointing guardians for your children, you hand the local authority the power to decide who, if anyone, becomes their guardian, which may force those best placed to look after your children to apply to the court to compete for the right to do so.

Although this can be a particularly sobering situation to contemplate, the appointment of a guardian can guarantee some measure of familiarity, certainty and reassurance to your most vulnerable dependants.

Appointing a guardian in your Will ensures that your children will be looked after by someone whom you have chosen because you know that they care for them and will carry on bringing them up as you had intended. By assuring your children’s emotional well-being in this way you are, in effect, continuing to parent after you are gone.

Who Can Be Appointed As A Guardian In Your Will?

The appointment of guardians is governed by section 5 of the Children Act 1989. Guardians may be appointed by anyone who has parental responsibility for a child. “Parental Responsibility” is defined by section 3(1) of the Children Act 1989 as being “the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which by law a parent of the child has in relation to the child and his property”. It includes rights and duties with regard to education, choice of religion, the administration of a child’s property and choice of residence.

The appointment of a guardian takes effect if, at your death:

  • No parent with parental responsibility survived you, or
  • There was a residence order in your sole favour relating to the child.

The birth mother always has parental responsibility. Unmarried fathers of children born before 1st December 2003 do not have parental responsibility. The father only has parental responsibility in the following instances:

  • If he was married to the birth mother at the time of the birth – or subsequently marries her
  • If he was awarded parental responsibility either through a parental responsibility agreement with the birth mother or through a court order (including a residence order)
  • For a child born after 1st December 2003, if he is named on the child’s birth certificate

If the birth mother wants the natural father to look after their child after her death, she must make a Will to appoint the father as Guardian. Parental responsibility may also be acquired through the act of adoption.

If everyone who has parental responsibility has died, the local authority will have parental responsibility and be responsible for the care of the child – which may be with relatives, foster carers or in a residential home.

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When selecting guardians any adult can be a guardian. This can be a close family friend with whom the children in question already have a bond, or a family member not already directly involved in their care, such as a grandparent, aunt or uncle.

Guardians will be responsible for looking after children until they become 18. It is important to consult your proposed choice of guardian to ensure that they agree to take on what could be a lifetime commitment to your children’s care and that you consider appointing a substitute guardian should your first choice be unwilling or unable to act should the need arise.

In choosing guardians you should consider the following factors:

ο Familiarity – the relationship between the proposed guardians and your children is essential for their emotional security.

ο Age – will they be able to cope with bringing up very young children or be able to control children in their teenage years?

ο Location – will your children have to move school and be separated from their friends?

ο Finances – will they be able to accommodate your children? We can draft will trusts to provide income and capital for your children’s benefit. Further provisions can be made for guardians’ own expenses.

ο Religious/moral issues – do the guardians have religious or other beliefs that are compatible with the upbringing that you would like your children to have?

ο Contact issues – if you wish your children to remain in contact with their wider families it may be worth specifying regular contact meetings in your Will.

Leaving Instructions to Guardians

We are increasingly instructed by clients to prepare guidelines to be left for the guardians setting out the detailed hopes and plans for their children’s upbringing. Although an undoubtedly emotional process, this can, if needed, provide your children with enduring evidence that their welfare was of paramount consideration in all the arrangements you made.

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Client Testimonials

“I have known Alex Truesdale for over 6 years, during which time she prepared Wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney for my sisters and assisted us in the administration of my sister Elizabeth’s estate after her death in 2018.  I testify to her attention to detail, her knowledge and experience in her work and the warmth of her communications whether by letter, by telephone or in person.  She responds to us quickly and we have full confidence in what she does on our behalf and on her advice on various aspects. She has a good network of people when particular advice is needed beyond her field of expertise or training.  She became a friend to us as a family.  I gladly recommend her services to others.”  
KH, July 2020
“The support Alex gave me and my husband after our Wills and LPAs were finalised was second to none especially as he was diagnosed with a terminal illness a few months later. This ongoing support, advice and bringing in other specialists to assist was outstanding and I felt that we were in very good hands and would continue to be when the inevitable happened. After my husband died, the comfort of knowing all was in order with the Wills was a great relief and her help in the immediate aftermath was much appreciated. It wasn’t just the professionalism but the genuine concern for my situation and that of the family. Alex then continued to guide me through the process and through some pretty complicated issues relating to the estate administration. She always responded to my copious emails and phone calls with clarity, efficiency and care. The whole process was dealt with in a timely manner and to a very high standard and I felt that I was being looked after like one of her own family. I can’t recommend Alex highly enough - a very talented professional dedicated to her work with a heart of gold.”
JD, July 2020
“After many years putting off writing my Will I finally entrusted Alex Truesdale with the task of compiling it for me and my family. My main wish was to pass my estate on to my son, and have guardianship put in place, should the worst happen before he came of age. Alex guided us through the difficult and emotional process with the utmost professionalism and put us at ease from the outset. She was able to address all of the issues we put to her and brought up many we had not considered regarding our estate. “As we were about to travel abroad, we were also on a very tight schedule for the wills to be drawn up and signed. Alex went above and beyond to make sure everything was in place for us in the allotted time, even to the point of being personally on hand to instruct ourselves and our witnesses during the signing procedure. “In using Alex Truesdale Wills, we now feel totally secure if the worst should happen our affairs are in order. We will be continuing to draw on her knowledge as and when our wills need updating in the future and are delighted to recommend her first class service.”
BW, May 2018
“Alex arranged an appointment for my husband and I to update our Wills in view of a change in family circumstances.  She was organised, efficient and extremely sensitive to our needs. We discussed advance directives and lasting powers of attorney in-depth – things we had only considered in vague terms previously but realised how intelligent it was to sort them out early. “I cannot fault Alex’s professionalism and caring attitude, and will be recommending her service to my friends and colleagues.”
SM, September 2019
"Thank you again for helping me sort out all our Wills and the funeral plan for my godmother. I cannot believe how timely that was bearing in mind today’s situation. Only good news from her care home so far, but to know that resources are there to help the staff directly if the worst happens certainly gives me peace of mind."
SC , May 2020
"We would like to thank you for your professional help in getting us to a point of having signed Wills after many years of procrastination. Not only that your advice gave us the impetus to arrange a Civil Partnership and we now feel that we have got at least some of our affairs in order in these worrying times."
KB, September 2020
"Very clear explanation of what the options and implications were for us. It was also good to have someone focused on the end result we had to get to, as it's very easy on your own to leave to another day."
EM, September 2018

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Will Writing And Estate Planning From Alex Truesdale Wills

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Contact Alex Truesdale today to arrange a free, no-obligation initial consultation, virtual meetings or face to face.