Who looks after your baby if you die?
Did you know that if you don’t appoint guardians and your children are orphaned before turning 18, the courts will decide who they will be looked after by – and that might not necessarily be the people that you would have assumed or preferred.
With four kids we wanted to ensure they would all be looked after as a unit – but who would we want to look after them if the worst happened?
Well, it was definitely easier to work out who would NOT be looking after our children.
We quickly ruled out grandparents on the basis of age, health and lifestyles. Neither of us have siblings so our nearest family were cousins.
We knew immediately that the only people in the world that we could trust them to was my wonderful cousin Teresa and her husband. They have two children of their own (the same age as our eldest two), share the same values and interests in life, would protect them like roaring dragons if required and at the same age as us they were ideal candidates.
Initially I expected them to be delighted to be “the chosen ones” – but then the doubt began to creep in when we drove round to ask if we could name them as guardians in our will. The dawning realisation that this wasn’t a wonderful opportunity we were offering – but a huge burden that would affect them and their own children for many years to come.
Can you imagine going from a “nuclear family” to being in charge of a tribe of 6 children overnight?
Fortunately they readily (perhaps stupidly?) agreed – and a huge weight was lifted off our shoulders. knowing that our kids would be cared for and nurtured if the worst should happen.
Rather incredibly though – research shows that 57% of UK parents have not made a will and even when you include those that have, 88% of parents haven’t made provision for legal guardians .
At a recent coffee morning I asked the question – “How many of you have made a will?” – and not surprisingly only a couple of hands went up.
When I asked why no one else had, the most common two answers were:
I don’t want to think about it
I’m too young
And yet these were all mums with new babies in their arms – or still in their tummies.
As soon as you have a baby you need to consider who would look after your children and arrange to write a will. This is especially true if you are unmarried as your unmarried partner is not automatically entitled to stay in your home or receive any inheritance.
We would all like to think “It will never happen to us” but can you afford to take the risk?