Protecting Your Kids’ Futures by Making a Will

What happens if you have kids and don’t write a Will?

According to the charity Will Aid, more than half of UK adults don’t have any paperwork in place that outlines how their children should be taken care of if they were ever left without a parent.

In these cases, the government would decide what should happen to the children involved. And this won’t always be in line with the parents’ wishes.

Making a Will can give you the peace of mind that your children would be protected and taken care of if you were to pass away. You’ll have control over who would raise your children, as well as how they would access any inheritance.

In this guide, we’ve set out how you should choose a guardian for your children, how you can protect your children’s inheritance, and how to write a Will if you have more complex family arrangements.

Keep reading to learn more or get an instant quote for your Will now.

What is a guardianship?

If you have children under the age of 18, you’ll need to write a guardianship into your Will. This will entrust at least one person with caring for and making key decisions on behalf of your child. So it’s important that you choose someone you trust completely.

Some factors to consider before choosing a guardian include:

  • Their age – you might consider choosing your own parents as guardians, but it’s important to consider whether they’ll be able to support your children until they turn 18
  • Their values and beliefs – whoever you choose as a guardian will have a large influence on your children’s thoughts and beliefs, so make sure to bear this in mind
  • Where they live – make sure to consider the impact it could have on your children if they had to relocate to stay with your chosen guardian
  • Whether they have their own children – this won’t always be an issue, but you should think about how much time this person will have to take care of your children as well as their own

Acting as a guardian is a significant responsibility. So we would always suggest speaking to the person or people you have in mind before writing them into your Will.

How do I protect my child’s inheritance?

One of the best ways to make sure your children’s inheritance is protected is to set up a trust. This will allow you to select a trustee who will manage the trust on behalf of your children until they’re old enough to access it (you can decide when this will be).

Most people will appoint their chosen guardian as a trustee. This is because the funds can be used towards your children’s medical care, education and other general maintenance costs when necessary.

If you don’t set up a trust for your children, the courts will control their inheritance until they turn 18. This means you won’t be able to choose when your children access the money, and there will be restrictions on how your selected trustee manages the funds.

For this reason, setting up a trust in your Will may be the best option for you and your children. We work with solicitors who are experienced in this area, and they’ll use their expertise to make sure your children receive the inheritance they’re entitled to.

How to write a Will when you have step-children

If your family circumstances are more complicated, making a Will could be even more important for ensuring your children are protected.

For example, if you have step-children, the only way to make sure they benefit from your estate – including your property, savings and other belongings – is to write your wishes into a Will.

The law doesn’t recognise step-children in the same way as biological children. So if you were to die without a Will, your step-children would have no automatic right to any of your assets, meaning they could miss out.

Similarly, if you’re married and have children from a previous relationship, you’ll need to make it clear in your Will how you’d like them to benefit from your estate. If not, your new spouse will inherit the first £250,000 automatically – this is often called the ‘sideways inheritance trap’.

We know that as parents you’ll want to do everything you can to ensure your children are taken care of – even after you’re gone. But it can be difficult to know where to start when you’re planning for the future.

Our Wills and trusts solicitors can help to take some of the pressure off your shoulders. They’ll speak to you about your individual circumstances and help you to draft a Will that reflects your wishes.

Just let us know what you need and our solicitors will provide you with an instant free quote.

Note: First4Lawyers offers this information as guidance, not advice. Before taking any action, you should seek professional assistance tailored to your personal circumstances.

Get in touch today to discuss your requirements 08005677866

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