Q: When my parents died, I inherited the family home and now, as a single parent, I live there with my three children. In December 2021 I was diagnosed with colon cancer. I had an operation in January and am now undergoing treatment, but the cancer has spread.
Because of this I am concerned for my children. If I die, how can I ensure they are looked after financially? Can I appoint a guardian to care for them? Do I need to appoint trustees?
A: You can appoint one or more persons to be a guardian for any of your children who are under the age of 18 at the time of your death. This appointment will only be effective on the death of all people who have parental responsibility for your children. A guardian is under no duty to use their own financial resources in caring for your children.
Any money left absolutely to your children in your Will will be held on trust for them until they reach the age of 18 (or later if specified in your Will). You can decide who you would like to look after the money on behalf of your children by appointing at least two Trustees in your Will. The Trustees may use money held in the trust for your children’s benefit before your children become absolutely entitled to it.
Depending on your personal and financial circumstances and wishes, it may be beneficial to leave your estate into a discretionary trust which would give your Trustees much more flexibility with regards to when and how they use any money held within the trust.
When you feel well enough you should make an appointment to see a solicitor who can go through your options and help you to make an informed decision about how best to handle your affairs for the future safety and well-being of your children, in line with your wishes.
This question has been answered by Jessica Wright, a Solicitor with GHP Legal. If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter it is still possible, and we are doing everything we can to ensure that we continue to offer our high levels of service to our clients. Where possible, we ask that you communicate with us by phone or email. If you have a new enquiry or for an appointment visit www.ghplegal.com or contact one of our offices: Wrexham 01978 291456, Llangollen 01978 860313, Oswestry 01691 659194