It is possible to nominate the person or people that you want to look after your children if they are left without any surviving parents.
You can nominate one or more Guardians. For your wishes to be legally binding you need to make sure that your will is properly dated. It is a quirk of law that if there is no date on your will any guardianship clauses will be void.
Guardianship clauses come into force if there is no legal parent surviving. Guardianship clauses can be challenged if there is concern that a nomination is not in the best interests of the child. A parent’s wishes in a will are given all due weight when the Courts consider the decision though.
Our wills are drafted in accordance with the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners’ guidelines. These contain provisions allowing for money for a child’s upkeep and wellbeing to be advanced to the Guardians. You do not need to draft any further wording for this to happen (in fact this could lead to confusion or dispute).
The costs of care for your child can be advanced to the guardian out of the child’s inheritance. If your child is due to inherit when they reach 18 the Guardian and the Executor can work together to ensure that there is enough money available from the inheritance to look after the education, welfare and upkeep of the child. For example reasonable amounts for food, holidays and clothing can be advanced to the Guardian.