A common worry for many parents is who will look after their children in the event of their untimely passing.
Statistics published by the charity, Child Bereavement UK, show that a parent of children under 18 dies every 22 minutes in the UK. This equates to around 23,600 deaths every year and around 111 children being bereaved of a parent every day.
Despite these high figures, there are still many parents who have not appointed a guardian for their children in the event of their death.
What can I do?
The Children (Scotland) Act 1995 allows for parents to appoint a person to be guardian to their child in the event of their passing. The Act says that such appointment must be in writing and although it does not need to form part of your Will, it is common for a guardian to be appointed under a Will.
Why should I appoint a guardian?
If there is no surviving parent with parental responsibilities and you have not nominated a guardian in your Will, then the Court will have to decide on the appointment of a guardian.
By nominating a guardian under your Will, it allows you to take control and choose the individual, or individuals, that you feel would be most appropriate to care for your children in your absence. It also simplifies matters without the need for grieving relatives to have to go to Court and reduces the likelihood of family disputes over who should be appointed.
Is there anything else I should consider?
It may be appropriate to leave part of your estate in Trust if young or disabled children are to benefit from your estate. This could be for your children or for your grandchildren, if you have children that have predeceased you and left young children behind.
Making a Will allows you to choose the trustees for any Trust created under your Will and gives you peace of mind knowing that should the unimaginable happen, the individual or individuals you trust will be appointed.
What are the costs of making a Will?
The cost will vary depending on your requirements and circumstances. The cost of putting a Will in place is minimal when set against the significant costs, time and emotional distress for family and friends that is often the result when someone dies without having made a Will.
Hannah Dossett is a Solicitor in our Private Client department. If you have any questions about making or updating a Will please contact Hannah on 0131 225 8705 or alternatively contact a member of our Private Client team.