Think of the children

Wake Smith private client solicitor Louise Rudkin looks at the practicalities and responsibilities of becoming a new mum.

“Having recently become a new parent, my mind has turned to the important issue of updating our wills to include our new arrival and also the big question of guardianship. This would only be necessary in the unthinkable event that we were to predecease our lovely new baby….a truly awful thought, but one you really ought to consider….

“There are so many questions to ask yourself, who would be right for this job? Who can I trust with the most precious item I own? Are my parents too old? Are my siblings too busy with their own children and own lives? Is it too big an ask of a good friend?

“It is a truly emotive issue and one, which I admit, is not easy to resolve to complete satisfaction. There is always going to be a compromise, if not in terms of who you choose to appoint, but between the potential competing wishes of you and your other half! They may prefer their own relatives and you may think your own are better suited. It is certainly a topic for debate.

“From a more legal perspective, there are more practical issues for consideration – for example, your executors on the second death? Who would be responsible to look after the pot of money left for your child or children? Who could be trusted to make financial decisions for the benefit of your child?

“The executors do not have to be the same people as the guardians. However the guardians and executors would have to be able to work well together- as the guardians may need to approach the executors for cash advances, as and when the need arose.

“Sometimes clients suggest leaving a large cash legacy to the named guardians to financially assist them, however I would usually advise against this as there is always the possibility that the placement might breakdown… in that case the guardians would still have their legacy….. but your children may no longer live with them.

“Clients sometimes want to appoint several people to act as guardians… unfortunately this just won’t work.

“It is best to appoint one person or a couple. It would not be manageable to have two couples appointed who were to share your children, both sets of grandparents for example, which has been suggested to me before.

“This difficult issue will often prevent people from progressing with their will instructions completely or delay the matter for months and being a new parent myself I now understand much better than before why this is such a tough issue.”

For further advice contact Louise Rudkin on 0114 266 6660 or at louise.rudkin@wake-smith.com

 

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