How to appoint a legal guardian in your will
Date published: 2021-05-14 — by Kushal Bhatta
If you’re wondering how to appoint a legal guardian in your will then this article will help you to know everything about appointing a guardian, their responsibilities, and why you need them. Failing to write a will not only mean your assets could fall into the wrong hands, but it could also cause untold stress for your loved ones.
Why appointing a guardian is important for your child?
A guardian is a person who is responsible for taking care of your child if you die before they reach the age of 18. Appointing a guardian in your will is very important for the safety of your child in case of any unfortunate events happen. It will help them lead a better life, continue their education, and maintain a good social relationship.
What are a guardian’s responsibilities?
The main purpose of appointing a guardian for your children is to look after your children in the best way possible. The main responsibilities of a guardian are:
- Providing food and shelter for your children.
- Providing good education until they reach the age of 18.
- Making decisions that are in the best interest of your child.
- Providing good health facilities.
Who can be a legal guardian?
There are no hard and fast rules for choosing a legal guardian. Basically, anyone can be a legal guardian who doesn’t already have parental responsibility for their children. But is very crucial to choose the right person as a legal guardian for your children because it will have a direct impact on your children’s life after your death or illness.
How to choose a legal guardian for your will?
Choosing a legal guardian is a crucial task that might have a direct impact on your children’s life if any unfortunate events happen to you. So, it is very important to consider several elements before choosing a legal guardian for your will. Some of them are:
- Whether a chosen guardian loves children and is in sound mental and physical health?
- Are they trustworthy enough to take care of your child?
- Do they share common beliefs with your family?
Why do you need a will?
The typical reason why people say they don’t need a will is that they believe their state’s law will allow their estate to go directly to their spouse and their children. While this rings true, estate planning is still beneficial for certainty and expediency. Many people wouldn’t want their estate to follow the default position mentioned above.
For example, they might want to leave gifts to special people or organizations or be able to determine the respective proportions, however, intestate rules do not allow for any of that. Having a will can bypass this issue.
What should be included in your will?
Writing a will is not rocket science, but it is important to do it correctly. Start by listing out all your assets, including any life insurance policies, cash deposits, and investments. You’ll also need to take any debts or liabilities into account, for example, your home mortgage or other loans.
Next, you’ll have to consider what legacies you wish to make. You can leave your entire worth to one person or divide fixed sums among named individuals. If you have children under the age of 18, your will is also an opportunity to appoint a guardian in the event that both you and your spouse dies.
You will also have to consider financial support for them after your death, usually by setting up a trust. Naming an executor in your will is an essential step. An executor is a person appointed to manage the estate who must be at least 21 years of age. If the beneficiary of the estate is under the age of 18 or the will explicitly state the beneficiary has to reach a certain age before inheriting the estate, the executor shall hold the estate in trust and keep it on the beneficiary’s behalf. In these cases, the executor can exercise discretion to distribute the cost-of-living expenses before the beneficiary officially obtains the estate.
Let’s answer some of the frequently answered questions regarding “How to appoint a legal guardian in your will”
How many guardians can I appoint in my will?
Generally, you can appoint more than one guardian in the will but there are several disadvantages of appointing multiple guardians. The main drawback of appointing multiple guardians is a difference in opinion. This would make your child’s life more complicated and difficult for making important decisions as there are multiple people making the decision.
Is a guardian financially responsible?
On a personal level, a guardian is not financially responsible for the minor’s debt or bills. The main responsibility of a guardian is to make sure that all the bills are paid on time. If there are no assets under the minor name then the financial responsibility of a guardian no longer exists and become void.
Does a will override parental rights?
No, the will doesn’t override your parental rights if your name is mentioned in the birth certificate of your child. Appointing a legal guardian in your will can help to safeguard your child’s future in case there is no one to look after them.
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