In this blog I’ll cover the topics of legal guardians and letters of wishes. Two important considerations when arranging your domestic legal affairs.
WHO SHOULD YOU APPOINT AS GUARDIANS FOR YOUR CHILDREN?
Do you have young children? If you do and you’re considering drafting your Wills, the single most important thing you can put in place in your Wills is the appointment of legal guardians for your children.
What is a legal guardian?
Legal guardians are a person or persons that will care for any children you have, under the age of 18, should something dreadful befall you and your partner or spouse.
A question I’m asked almost once a week is: Who should I appoint as the legal guardians?’ Well, you have various options. Many couples will appoint other family members, e.g. their siblings. Others will appoint trusted friends.
My firm advice to you is that you set up a conversation with those that you’d like to appoint as legal guardians. Preferably NOW. You’ll need to be sure that they’re willing to take on the responsibility before you name them in your Will. Though it’s not likely to ever arise it’s still a big ask. So, they must have full understanding of the implications.
How many people should I appoint as guardians? That’s another frequent question. And it’s one with something of a ‘how long is a piece of string?’ answer. For instance, you might want one member from one side of the family and one from another side of the family. It’s also a case of practical issues. So, you could have husband’s sister and wife’s brother as a legal guardian. But you also need to talk to them about where your children would live and how you’d like them raised. If it’s in a different country, that’s another thing to consider.
So, think about it from a practical viewpoint and then come up with the best people for the job. And always, always remember, this is a worst-case scenario! It’s very, very unlikely to happen!
If you would like to book an appointment today to get your Wills drafted, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I would be delighted to help! Or, if you want to review existing Wills I can do that too. And I offer a complimentary Will review service.
A Letter of wishes – what they are and why you need one
A letter of wishes is a letter that you keep with your Will. It complements your Will but it’s important you note that it’s not legally binding.
In your letter you can include the following:
- Leaving your belongings to people, e.g. jewellery to your daughter.
- Giving funeral details, where you want to be buried or where your ashes scattered
- If you have young children, you can leave advice on how your trustees can spend money on them, e.g. to pay for ballet or driving lessons.
- If you have cut someone out of your Will, you can use it to explain why.
Why would you put these things in a letter rather than your Will?
The benefit of doing this is that you can update the at any time and at no extra cost so it gives you flexibility. In comparison, if you need to change your Will, it’s likely to cost you money every time you update it.
A letter of wishes is a really useful way of providing additional guidance and information to your executors.
If you’d like help in composing a letter of wishes please email me at email@example.com and we can book an appointment today.