Appointing a Guardian

This guide is to provide practical information, to family members and friends, about what they need to do after someone dies. We understand that this can be a difficult and confusing time and we aim to help you understand the processes and procedures you ought to follow.
This guide is for England and Wales only

A guide to appointing a Guardian

Your Will recommends that you appoint a Legal Guardian for any children you have that are under the age of 18. A parent of a child dies every 22 minutes in the UK, this means that around 111 children being bereaved of a parent every day.*

A lot of parents do not think about what could happen if they both die while their children are dependent on them. It is important to plan for such an event in order to look out for your children’s best interests and secure their future.


The responsibilities of a Guardian

The Guardians that you appoint will be responsible for the day-to-day care of your children. They will make decisions on the key aspects of a child’s life including:-
The Child’s upbringing
Health and Welfare

Therefore, it is imperative that you consider the suitability for this role.


What will happen if I don’t appoint a Guardian?

If both parents die without appointing a Guardian, the courts and social services will decide who takes care of their children. This may not necessarily be people that the parents would have wanted to be granted guardianship.

The process of deciding who takes care of them could be lengthy and during this time; the children could be taken into care.



Appointing a Guardian

It is important that you appoint a Guardian who is trustworthy, reliable and capable of carrying out the duties outlined in the Guide Series: A Guide to appointing a Guardian.

Appointing a guardian ensures that your children are cared for by people that you trust. In order to appoint guardians for your children, you must provide their full name and address as your chosen Guardians in your Will.

It is advisable that you consult your chosen Guardians to confirm that they are willing to accept the responsibility.


What if my Guardian is unable to Act?

In some circumstances, an Executor may not be able to fulfill their role as a Guardian under a Will. For example in the following circumstances:-

Does not wish to pursue the role of a guardian
Is unable to conduct the role of a Guardian due to sickness or age
Predeceases you


Substitute Guardians

It is good practice for parents to appoint a substitute Guardian in case your intended Guardians are unwilling or unable to conduct the role of a Guardian. This can be done simply using the Your Will online Will.

In some circumstances, you may need to change your appointed Guardians, for example; if your intended Guardians have separated. In this case, you would need to update your Will to reflect this change (updating your Will with Your Will is simple and free).

*Statistics have been provided by