New parents? Why you need a will
12 March 2014
While the odds of both parents dying together are very slight, it does happen. Through your will you can specify who you would like to look after your child should such an accident happen. If you do not do this, then the authorities will appoint someone and this may not reflect your wishes. Being a child’s guardian is a great responsibility, so you should always check that the person you choose is happy to take on this role before you name them in your will.
You will also wish to ensure that your children are secure financially, if anything should happen to you. Without a valid will, the intestacy rules apply and determine who inherits your estate.
The matter becomes more complicated if you are not married, are divorced or have children from a previous relationship to think about, as you have a duty to provide for all children that you have parental responsibility for. For example step-children and your partner’s children do not automatically inherit under the intestacy laws.
In your will, you can leave clear instructions about who will be in charge of their inheritance if they are underage.
When making a will, Susan Hall advises: “Remember that your will is an ongoing document, it can be changed as often as you need to reflect changes in your circumstances. The most important thing is to keep your will up to date so that your assets are left to your loved ones and not to the taxman.”
The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.