The Role and Duties of a Guardian

Guardians with child

Guardians act in the same way as a parent would and will make decisions about schooling and health as well as moral and social training – always in the best interest of the child or children.

There will be financial, social and emotional implications, and these should be discussed with the parents before taking on the role. The terms of the Will should be such that the executors (and subsequently the trustees) can do all that is necessary to provide financial help to the guardians. While guardians have daily responsibility for the children, it is better for the financial control to be handled by someone different, normally the trustees of the estate.

Through the appointed trustees of their Wills, most parents will make financial arrangements for their children in the event of their death, but guardians may be able to claim child benefit and receive a guardian’s allowance if both parents are deceased. This means that appointed trustees and guardians can share potentially difficult decisions such as provision of funds for the children’s upbringing and other capital expenditure before the youngest child attains eighteen years of age. Trustees in this event are obligated to use available estate funds to provide for the maintenance, benefit and advancement of the children. 

Trustees and guardians need to work together to resolve issues and agree reasonable expenditure of funds. If you have been appointed as a guardian, it is also in the best interest of the children for you to draw up a Will for them as well. This way, you can protect them and any assets they have been bequeathed or will attain going forward. This will safeguard their future during a difficult time where they are most likely not thinking about it. The time will come when they will draw up their own Will and they will already have something in place.

The Role and Duties of a Guardian 1
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