Planning for the unexpected is an essential part of managing your affairs, particularly when it comes to your children.

If you die leaving children under the age of 18, who will look after them and will that person be someone you would have chosen?

The well-being and future of your children or dependents should always be a top priority.

A guardian is a person who will have the legal responsibility to look after your children if you die before they are 18 years old and their other parent (who has parental responsibility) is also dead.

Mothers gain parental responsibility automatically, but fathers only gain parental responsibility if both parents were married at the time the child was born. For unmarried parents, if the child was born after 1 December 2003, a father will automatically have parental responsibility if his name is registered on the birth certificate.

If you don’t have a Will appointing guardians for your children in the event something happened to you, the courts will step in and make that decision for you. This often leads to disputes amongst your family.

The courts may choose someone different to who you would wish. They could take weeks or months to make those decisions. Your children could even be placed in care while the courts decide who is fit and proper.