Last Will And Testament For UK Nationals Living at Home or Abroad

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                         Infants, Children And Guardianship
Infant  A person who is under the age of 18. The term may include not only your own child who is under 18 but also other infants of which you may not be the blood parent. A Minor cannot own possessions until over the age of 18 and a benefit for an infant must therefore be held in trust for infants until they reach the age of 18. You can stipulate in a Will that benefits for infants can be held in trust until older than 18 if you so wish i.e. until the age of 21 or older. You can in a Will make provisions for the maintenance and financial support for infants while they are under 18 years of age.
Child  Generally taken to mean the issue of parents whilst under the age of 18 but can also include adults i.e. persons over the age of 18. In legal terms a child can therefore be taken to include a child whatever age. The term should not be used to describe a child under 18 years of age who would be correctly described as being " an infant "
The term also includes both legitimate as well as an illegitimate child and a legally adopted child.
The term does not include a stepchild and such persons should be specifically mentioned in a Will if they are to benefit.

Guardian  The guardian is responsible for the welfare and safe upbringing of an  infant. (under 18 years of age) at the time of your death. Parents who are making Mirror wills should name a guardian in their (both) wills in the event that they should die together, but appointment (or the responsibilities) of a guardian  (in most cases) will not take effect until the death of the surviving parent.  Guardians must be 18 or over. 

DID YOU KNOW?

Testators with minor children should consider who would have the care of any minor children who survive them.

The guardianship of minors act 1971 has been repealed in its entirety by the Childrens Act 1989, Schedule 15.

 A parent with parental responsibility may appoint a guardian. Broadly speaking, a mother has parental responsibility irrespective of her marital status. A father has automatic parental responsibility if he has been married to the mother at any time later than the date of conception. An unmarried father may aquire parental responsibility by court order or agreement with the Childs mother. An appointment may be made by Last Will or in writing (section 5 (5)).

 An appointment by one spouse where the other spouse survives will now not normally take effect until after the death of the surviving spouse. If the surviving spouse also appoints a guardian, the two guardians will act together after the death of the surviving spouse.

      When Can a Child Inherit

Any minor children (i.e. under the age of 18 years) cannot receive any legacy you may have left for them until they attain the age of 18 years or any other age greater that you may have specified in the Will.  Their legacy would be held in trust by your Trustees being responsible for investing the monies to the best possible advantage for the ultimate benefit of the child on attaining that specified age. However, the Trustees have power to make an advance of one half the capital to the child prior to the specified age but there must be very good reasons for doing so.  The Trustees also have power to use the interest earned on any investments for the child's benefit maintenance or education.  The child has a right to all the income from the inheritance on attaining the age of 18 years even if you have declared that the child cannot have the capital until some greater age.

Did you know that if you die without naming a guardian, the state would, name one for you?...

Did you know that if you die without naming a guardian, the state would, name one for you?...  AFTER they make this decision , COSTS would be incurred for doing it, payable from your estate.

If at the time of executing (making) your Last Will, you have any infants, (children under 18 years) then he or she should, in his, or her Last Will, appoint someone to act as a guardian for the infant, in the event that both parents should perish together prematurely.

Consideration must be given to appoint someone appropriate, who can possibly exercise the same love and care for the infant child, as you would have done yourself. Or at the very least give someone OF YOUR CHOICE a parental voice in the decisions of your infants child's future.

If a guardian is not appointed by you in your Last Will the state steps in and decides who will have parental responsibility for your child. The infant can be made a "ward of court". The state will do its best for the child, but why risk the unnecessary trauma this can cause. Make a Last Will and make YOUR wishes known. 

You could perhaps ask a close relative or Godparent to fill this important and responsible role.

A suitable executor can also act as guardian and vice versa. Great care and serious consideration should be given to whom this important role falls upon.  

This is a very important role and any ambiguity should be avoided when naming more than one.  Remember this guardian would only step in if both natural parents should die. Any surviving parent has guardianship in most cases. 

 
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