We know parenting comes with many responsibilities, and writing a will is definitely not in your top priorities. However, we would like to discuss some important reasons why all parents should have a will and why they should add it to their to-do list.
More than anything, as a parent you want to ensure your family is and will be always protected if anything happens. A will is possibly the most important thing parents can do to ensure their children will be cared for no matter the circumstances.
Here are 3 reasons why it is so important for parents to have a will:
Without a will, who looks after your children may be decided by a local authority
If something happens to both parents, somebody will have to take care of your children and without a will, the person that will look after your children may be decided by a local authority or court. Although children are usually placed with immediate family, it’s not certain and it’s best for the parents to make that decision.
Choosing a guardian is not easy and you also need to make sure you appoint two or even more guardians to ensure that your children will be cared for in the case that the initial guardians are unavailable.
Deciding exactly who will look after your children is especially important when you are a single parent. Usually, the other parent will take full-time custody, however, if the other parent isn’t around, then you still need to choose who will be appropriate to look after your children.
Your children will need financial help
If you don’t have a will in place and something happens to you or your partner, how will your family cover the costs of bringing up a child?
In your will, make sure to state the way that you want your children’s inheritance to be received, including at what age. A parent’s will should also include how you wish to divide your finances between your partner, your children, and any stepchildren.
Stepchildren or foster children don’t automatically inherit, your spouse, cohabitee, partner, or civil partner won’t automatically inherit either, so ensure they are included in the will.
Assets left to your children that are under 18 are held in trusts
If you die before your child is 18 any assets left to them will be held in a trust that only a trustee can access. It’s very important to decide who will be responsible for managing your children’s assets and inheritance until your children are old enough to receive them.
Within your will, you should appoint at least two trustees, the trustee will essentially be in control of your children’s finances. You might want to appoint your spouse as one of the trustees and add two or more substitute trustees in case both parents pass away.
Our wills solicitors would be happy to help you either review your existing will or write one. We would also be delighted to answer any questions you might have and help you create a will that will ensure your whole family is looked after.