A Will is a document that controls what happens to an individual’s estate on death by setting out their specific wishes. However, a properly drafted Will can also be used to make sure that children are appropriately cared for, physically and financially, in the event that a parent passes away.
As well as confirming how someone’s estate should be distributed a Will can also be used to ensure that minor children inherit at a particular age to ensure that young adults do not inherit ‘too much, too soon’.
Parents can also use Wills to set out who they wish to appoint to be the guardian(s) of any minor children to ensure they are looked after in the event of their death. Parents can also appoint more than one guardian to act together and substitute guardians if the first guardian is unwilling or unable to take on responsibility for the children. A letter of wishes can also be prepared and stored with the Will, providing guidance to the guardians on how the parents would like the children to be raised.
If there are no Wills in place and both parents pass away, then only the Court can appoint a guardian. This could lead to family disputes, custody battles, and possibly foster care.
There are also rules about appointing guardians and formalities to be complied with. Where such an appointment occurs within a Will, this is likely to help show that the rules have been complied with and that the appointment of the guardian is valid.
Furthermore, without a Will in place, your estate will be divided in accordance with the intestacy rules. This may mean that your estate is not divided according to your wishes. By having a Will in place, you can give thought to balancing out the needs of any family members and contributing towards the expense of raising children.
Trust mechanisms can be put in place to ensure, for example, that the cost of any education fees is covered, or perhaps a deposit for a new home or even a first car. In these cases, it is important to appoint appropriate trustees to safeguard the assets and manage them until the age of inheritance.
For further information, please contact Warners Solicitors on 01732 770660 or email [email protected]
This article is for general information only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. Please note that the law may have changed since this article was published.