Choosing a guardian is one of the most important parts of your Will, and probably one of the main reasons you chose to write one in the first place!
Without a Will, if the child's other parent is not alive or fit for guardianship the question of your child’s guardian will be left entirely up to the court. When left up to the courts, anyone can make an application to become the guardian for your child - irrespective of whether you would have chosen them as Guardian yourself.
With so many important and personal factors to consider when appointing a guardian, the best thing you can do for your child's welfare is appoint a guardian under your Will. That way you can make sure that your child is brought up in the most appropriate, caring environment possible.
Here we discuss the three main considerations that you should bear in mind when choosing who to select as guardian of your child.
While we all want the best for our kids, most of us have very different ideas of what good parenting looks like. Whether it is the values we want them raised to espouse, the kind of lifestyle we want to them lead, or even the diet we believe they should have, these are all important considerations that factor into your parenting style. You should make sure to select a guardian who is likely to raise your kids in a similar fashion to how you would like them raised, so you have peace of mind about their future if you weren't here to take care of them.
The death of a parent is a jarring, difficult time for a child. On top of the emotional transition they are going through, it is important that extra stress is not placed on them by thrusting your child into a completely new and foreign physical space.
Whether your choice of guardian lives overseas, or you are close friends with someone whose kids have radically different lifestyles to your own, you want to make sure that the lifestyle impact on your child is minimised as much as possible. Our legal advisers suggest that you try to avoid moving them to a new place or to a guardian who would require them to move schools, or be forced to adopt a new schedule and activity base. The less change that they have to undergo will make the process emotionally and logistically less difficult than it otherwise already is.
Often parents will nominate a grandparent to take responsibility of guardianship over the child, or give guardianship to a relative or friend that already has children of their own. It is however always important (and particularly so when you have multiple children yourself) to make sure that an appointed guardian has the ability to care for your children.
This may change due to age or sickness, or because a person who was nominated all of a sudden has a few kids of their own. You should be considering the guardianship appointment whenever your circumstances, or those of your nominated guardian, change, to ensure ongoing suitability to take care of your kids,
When writing a Will with Safewill, you have the choice of appointing a primary guardian, and a back-up guardian.
Given the importance of guardianship, it is a good idea to consider naming a back-up guardian, in case your primary guardian is unable or unwilling to take care of your child. You can do this easily on the Safewill platform - all with the click of a button.
If you haven't appointed a guardian for your kids, make sure they are protected.
Log in or get started and appoint a guardian today.
If you have unique or complex guardianship scenarios (including where a child has a disability or complex needs, or a family situation is particularly complex) we recommend seeking independent legal advice.