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It’s a boy! Will advice for young families

The entire country has been in celebratory mood since the arrival of the royal baby, His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge.

The entire country has been in celebratory mood since the arrival of His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge, more commonly and affectionately referred to as ‘the Royal Baby’. The third in line to the throne was born on Monday 22 July to an adoring nation and a young mother and father visibly delighted to have begun family life with their new son. 

With so many pressures on new parents it is understandable that the increased importance of putting in place a Will is lost in the blur of endless nappy changes and sleepless nights.

Many new parents may also see a Will as an unnecessary expense at a time of increased costs and ‘something done by older people’. However the value of a well-prepared document that distributes your assets as you see fit and, importantly, puts in place plans for your children in the event of death is priceless.

A major consideration for young parents is the appointment of guardians for their minor children. In the possible event where both parents die before their children turn 18, great peace of mind can be gained by appointing guardians to raise any young children.

The appointment is not merely a ‘kind gesture’ in a Will. It is of utmost significance for the child as the guardian will have ‘parental responsibility’. This means a guardian can make important decisions about the child’s life in areas such as medical treatment and education. A person who has care of a child, but who does not have parental responsibility, only has limited legal rights.

So how are guardians appointed? Unfortunately an informal agreement with family and friends will simply not suffice as it does not give such individuals the required parental responsibility. Appointments of a guardian must be:

  • made in writing;
  • signed and dated; and
  • executed in the presence of two adult independent witnesses who each attest the signature.

As such, it makes perfect sense to appoint guardians by means of a Will. It ensures the appointment will take effect on death, along with the rest of the deceased’s intentions in the Will. Furthermore a Will is very unlikely to be forgotten or mislaid after a death compared to any less formal document.

Naturally each appointment much be considered with the circumstances of each parent and child in mind. This is particularly relevant where there are children from previous relationships and various interested parties in the child’s life. It is highly recommended to seek the opinion of a legal professional who is aware of the complexities and necessary legal requirements for each individual circumstance.

Weightmans LLP has the expertise to assist and advise you in these complicated subjects. To arrange a no obligation meeting, please contact Richard Bate or a member of the Wills Tax Trusts and Probate team.