Making a decision about who would look after your children and raise them in the event of your death is not an easy decision to make, but if you have children, updating your Will to provide for this possibility is a must.
Why is appointing a guardian sensible?
You may think that if you do not specify a guardian in your Will, your children will go to the next closest family member however this is not guaranteed. Ultimately, if you do not name a guardian in your Will, anyone can make a claim for guardianship and it will be up to a Court to decide.
You are best to state your wishes in your Will. While this may not be the last word, and people are still able to challenge the decision, your express intentions and wishes weigh heavily in a decision that a Court may have to make.
How to choose a guardian
This is a very serious decision that you need to make and you need to take the time to approach it carefully. When considering options for guardians here are some things that you may wish to keep in mind:
You may wish to consider what you want your guardian to impart on your children. What are their personal values or beliefs, what is their stance on education, creativity, sports, religion and the like?
Where does your guardian live? It is nearby or would it mean your children would need to be uprooted from their current school, friends, sporting clubs and so forth?.
Does your guardian have the financial capabilities to raise your children? We know that raising children is time-consuming and expensive and you need to carefully consider this.
What is your guardian’s lifestyle? Do they travel for months on end? Another consideration to make is their age. A lot of people think that the best people to appoint as guardians are their parents but you need to carefully consider their age and health and whether they could in fact keep up with young children.
The most important conversation
Once you have considered all of the above and have someone in mind that you think would be the best choice, before you make or update your Will, you need to have a conversation with this person to make sure they want to or could commit to raising your children should you pass away. Take the time to go through why you think they would be the best person to raise your children, allow them to ask any questions that may have and provide them the space to make a decision as this could be a life changing commitment one day.
How can Nevett Ford help?
Our Wills and Estates Lawyers in Melbourne can guide you through the appointment of a guardian in your Will and are here to answer any questions you may have about the process. Even if you have not yet made the decision on who to appoint as guardian, we would encourage you to review your Will and update it should there have been any significant changes in your life (for example marriage or children). Once you make a decision about a guardian, we can update your Will to reflect this.