Wills for younger families

It is never too early to make a Will, and we should all most certainly do it once we have got children. Making Wills for younger families is one of the most important aspects of our business.

Food for thought: A parent has a young child and has to go away for a month. It goes without saying that they would make the necessary arrangements for the child to be looked after. A week, they would make those arrangements. A day, they would make those arrangements. A couple of hours even, they would make those arrangements. So surely if they had to go away forever they should make those arrangements.

However a recent surveys suggest that only 21% of parents who still have children living at home have made a Will, and 31% of parents who have made a Will failed to appoint legal guardians for their children in that Will, which when added to those who haven’t made a Will means a massive 88% of parents have not appointed guardians for their children. Every 22 minutes in the UK a child loses a parent. That means 24,000 deaths per year where a bereaved child is involved.

Here are a few tips to bear in mind when writing a Will to protect minor children:

Who would you want to appoint as legal guardians for your children? Statutory law is largely silent on this issue, and in the absence of a Will it is ultimately a court decision who looks after a child. Talk to the people you have in mind, and to your children if necessary, to be absolutely clear you are making the right choice.

Who would you want to appoint as trustees to look after your children’s money? Statutory law does not allow a child below eighteen to have control of money they inherit until they are of age, and in the absence of a Will you have no power over who gains control of your money. Again talk to the people you have in mind to be absolutely clear you are making the right choice.

Would sufficient money be available to your chosen trustees for your children’s welfare and education? Be ready to ask us how we can set up trusts in your Will to protect your money, but also ensure it is there to finance your children’s upbringing.

Would you actually want your children then to inherit and assume control of a potentially vast sum of money at the tender age of eighteen? Maybe you would prefer it to be twenty one, or even an older age. We can offer comprehensive advice on the implications of setting up trusts so that your chosen trustees remain in control for as long as you deem appropriate.

What if your spouse or partner remarried after your death? Could this disadvantage your children, and what can be done about it? Be ready to ask us these questions if they are important to you.