Appointing Guardians A guardian is someone you have named in your Will as the person you would like to be responsible for your children if they are orphaned before reaching the age of 18. Why appoint Guardians? If your children are orphaned before they reach 18 and you have not appointed guardians in your will, the courts will appoint guardians but they will not necessarily choose the people that you would have preferred to take care of your children. By appointing guardians in your will you can ensure that your children are looked after by the people that you have chosen as the best people for the job. Who should you choose as a Guardian? When considering who to appoint as legal guardian for your children, you will need to consider the following: Are they able to offer a stable family environment? What is the quality of their present relationship with my child/children? Do they have parenting skills and are they willing and able to handle the responsibility of caring for my child on a long-term basis? Approach the people you would like to appoint as guardians to find out whether they are willing and able to take on this onerous responsibility. Roles and Responsibilities of Guardians Usually a Guardian will also be one of the Trustees for the property held in trust for the child. Formalities to consider How many guardians should I appoint? You can appoint just one guardian however most people choose to appoint 2 – usually a couple. Should I make the guardians trustees as well? Wise as the guardians will also be looking after your children’s finances until they are 18 but it is advisable also to appoint a professional trustee e.g. a solicitor. Who can Appoint Guardians? You can only appoint guardians for children if you currently have ‘parental responsibility’ for the children. Changing your guardians It may be necessary to change your appointed guardians, for example if one of your intended guardians dies etc. You can change your appointed guardians by: By writing a codicil By appointing in your Will alternative guardians who can take on the responsibility for your children if your intended guardians die before you do. For more on probate click on the drop down or revisit derby probate solicitors.