Guardianship of your Minor Children

By: Benson Williams Limited  20/12/2012
Keywords: guardianship of minors

Many couples with young children wish to make a Will for the prime reason of ensuring that their children are cared for. Under the terms of The Guardianship of Minors Act 1971, no one has automatic rights to guardianship of an orphaned child even if they are the immediate next of kin. Overriding jurisdiction rests with the courts and an orphaned child may even be taken into care whilst a decision is being made. Under The Children Act 1989 the courts will, where possible, take into account the views of the children themselves in this matter, but the appointment of guardians in a parent's will is the most solid way of indicating a preferred choice. So it is vital that this issue should be given the fullest consideration where a will involving minor children is concerned. The major criteria that should be borne in mind whilst choosing guardians are: 1. They are of sound mind, are not bankrupt, and have no criminal record; 2. The children already know them and have and existing relationship with them; 3. The children will be able to continue with their existing lifestyle wherever possible, for example religion, education, locality, etc; 4. Unmarried fathers do not have automatic rights to guardianship of their own children should their mother die, making it vital for unmarried couples with children to make a Will protecting the father's rights.

Keywords: guardianship of minors

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