12 Feb Who will be able to make decisions for your child if you die?
We spend our lives caring for our children and ensuring we make the right decisions for them. However, parents do not always make a Will to provide for who will be able to make decisions for their children if they die.
Why is it important to make a Will if you have a child?
A Will is not just for people who have assets to leave their child, a Will enables you to give a person or persons the power to make decisions for your child if you were to die by appointing them as your child’s guardian in the event of your death. By appointing a guardian for your child in your Will they can obtain parental responsibility for your child after your death.
What is parental responsibility?
All the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities which by law a parent of a child has. For example to be able to decide whether the child is allowed to travel abroad, which school a child attends, whether the child has medical treatment, whether a child changes their name. Without parental responsibility you are not entitled to information about the child from the child’s school, doctor or other authorities.
Who has parental responsibility (PR)?
- The child’s mother;
- A father who is named on the child’s birth certificate provided the child was born after 1st December 2003;
- A father of the child who was married to the child’s mother prior to the child’s birth or subsequently;
- A father who has a PR order;
- A father who has obtained PR by a PR agreement form;
- A person who has a Residence Order or Child Arrangements Order or Special Guardianship Order providing for the child to live with them;
- A step parent who has obtained PR by a PR agreement form;
- A person who is appointed as guardian of the child in a Will and:
- Nobody else living has parental responsibility for the child, then the guardian will acquire parental responsibility for the child upon the person’s death;or
- The person who made the Will had a court order in their favour to provide for the child to live with them (e.g. a Residence Order or Child Arrangements Order or Special Guardianship Order), if they then die the guardian would acquire parental responsibility straight away. However, if someone else living also had parental responsibility e.g. the father of the child, then both the father and the guardian will have parental responsibility for the child.
There are other ways a person may have obtained parental responsibility, the above is a list of the main ways, but it is not a complete list.
What happens if you die and no guardian is appointed in your Will?
The person who wishes to care for your child may have to apply to court for a child arrangements order to provide for your child to live with them, which will then give them parental responsibility. The will involve court proceedings.
If you wish to make a Will or discuss parental responsibility agreements please contact us on 01747 852377