Many people who we speak to about preparing Wills have put off preparing their Wills because they have children and they can't decide who should look after the children. This might be because there are too many 'good' options and they can't decide, this might be because there are no good options. Either way it is important that you make this plain in your Will.
But isn't it obvious?
Maybe you think it is obvious who would look after your children. The problem is by definition this problem won't come up unless you are dead, and therefore unable to say what you want. The only unequivocal way to 'make it obvious' is to prepare a Will. There are possibly many people in your life who think they would be a good and obvious choice to look after your children. If you were to die suddenly then, rather than focus on helping your children, they would be locked in an argument about who should have the children.
So who should I choose?
Choosing a guardian is difficult and intensely personal. Here are some guidelines:
- How old will the guardians be when your children are teenagers and young adults? Will they have the energy to deal with the teenage years? Are you children likely to lose their guardians, after losing their parents, when they are a teenager or young adult?
- Who has a similar approach to parenting to you? The children will go through some pretty big changes if you die, a fundamentally different parenting approach or household is another big change for them to digest.
- Who has good support systems, friends or grandparents close by to help them?
- Do they have children or other relatives that they need to care for, will they also be able to care for your children?
- Can they afford to take on your children? For instance, is their house big enough, if your children are young can they afford preschool, if your child has high needs can they afford their services? If not, can you leave them some money?
What Do I Do?
You should come and speak to one of our lawyers. They have helped many people make these decisions so even if you haven't chosen a guardian, you should come and see them. The first appointment is free and they can help get you started. There are many other things you need to think about to like what would happen if only one parent dies, what happens to the money and what happens what any superannuation or life insurance.
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