Protect your little one’s future by writing a will

Welcoming a little one into the world is one of life’s greatest joys. When we become parents, we want protection and security for our children. It’s inevitable that you won’t be around forever, so writing a will can help secure their future.

Beaumont Legal’s wills team are experts at providing sound legal advice. Here, our Wills & Probate team answer a few questions around parenthood and the legal responsibilities that come with it.

I’ve just had a baby. Why is it important to write a will?

A will ensures your loved ones are properly cared for, should you pass away. Making a will allows you to specify who should receive what from your estate and allows you to name a guardian to care for any children you may leave behind. You can also leave wishes and instructions for your executors and trustees about how to spend the money you leave for your children.

Will Executor: An executor is the defined individual in a person’s will that is tasked with distributing the deceased person’s property outlined in the will.

Will Trustee: While the executor is appointed to administer a deceased person’s estate, the trustee has more of a long-term role to manage any ongoing trusts that are outlined in the will.

How can I ensure my child is looked after when I die?

You should appoint will executors and will trustees who you trust. This is because you’ll be asking them to look after your affairs and set up long-term funding and care for any child you leave behind. If your estate is left to a child, it is held in a trust until they are old enough to manage their own money. You can leave instructions and specify what your trustees should consider when making decisions about how to invest the money or what to spend it on in your child’s best interests.

What should I be passing on to my children when I write a will?

You can leave anything you want to your children in your will. Often people choose to leave specific items to their children, commonly items with sentimental value. This could be anything from your great grandmother’s dining chairs, to a piece of jewellery that you cherish. People will also generally arrange for their estate, or a share of their estate, to be left in a trust for their children, if both parents were to pass away together.

What does a trust entail?

A trust is an arrangement where one or more people take care of an estate, to the benefit of someone else. When you leave money or property to a child under 18, it is held in a trust until they reach adulthood. Your executors would normally also act as the trustees of the trust fund for the child. Alternatively, you can specify different trustees if you would prefer to do so. You will need to appoint at least two people and they will be responsible for managing the trust fund. This includes investing money and buying property where appropriate, plus using the money for the maintenance, education or benefit of your child.

Do I need to detail who will be my child’s guardian, should anything happen to me?

If you have children under 18, it is always advisable to name at least one guardian when writing a will. We would recommend that you name your first choice of guardian, and then a replacement. This is in case your first choice is unable or unwilling to accept the role.

What should I consider when choosing a guardian for my child?

You should consider practicalities such as where would you want your child to live, what schools you would like them to go to and what kind of upbringing you would like them to have. If you want to nominate more than one person, you should consider whether they would be able to care for your child together. You’ll also need to think about who you want your child to live with and who makes final decisions regarding your child’s health and well-being. If you choose a couple, then it is worth considering what you would want to happen if they were to separate in the future. Ultimately, it is very important that you choose a guardian or guardians that you trust to respect your wishes.

Do I need a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)?

When you’re writing your will, you should also consider making a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). A LPA allows you to nominate an attorney who could act on your behalf in relation to either your property and finances, or your health and welfare. This is in the event of you becoming mentally incapable of managing your own affairs. Many people associate LPAs with elderly people and with illnesses such as dementia. However, they are also useful if you are involved in an accident and need help, even on a temporary basis.

Having an LPA in place can save your loved ones from additional stress and anxiety. It simplifies the management of finances and bills on another’s behalf, in the event of an accident or illness. A Health and Welfare LPA enables your nominated attorney to make decisions about your medical treatment and care. This includes life sustaining treatment, if necessary.

Do I also need to consider life insurance during this time?

Life insurance policies can be very useful sums of money to add to your estate. This is to ensure you’d have sufficient funds to leave your child or children if you were to pass away. This is particularly the case if your children are young and need financial support for a long period of time. Life insurance can help with inheritance tax costs, paying short term bills and funeral costs. This can make things easier and less stressful for your loved ones.

The next step: Creating your will

Our Beaumont Legal will builder is the simplest way to create your will. If you’ve just become a parent, are a soon-to-be parent, or are thinking about buying a house, now is the perfect time.

Use our online will builder or contact our Wills & Probate team. They can talk you through the process.

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