What is a testamentary guardian?
A guardian is the “legal parent” of a child under eighteen. The term “testamentary guardian” means a guardian appointed by someone in their will. If you are a mother and are not married to your child’s father, you should think about who you would like to take your place as guardian of your child, should anything happen to you while the child is still under eighteen. They will step into your shoes and be legally responsible for your child if you pass away.
Our advice is to make a will appointing a “testamentary guardian”. You can make a will for that sole purpose. Hopefully it will never be required but you will have ensured that your wishes are clear should the unthinkable happen. Normally you have to be eighteen to make a will. However a person under the age of eighteen is entitled to appoint guardians by will.
Where the mother of a child has not married the child’s father, she is the sole guardian of the child unless the mother and father formally declare in writing that they are the parents of the child concerned. If this doesn’t take place, the father can apply to the Court to be made joint guardian.
The married parents of a child are the joint guardians of their child automatically.
This is a short introduction to the topic of guardianship. Come and talk to us about any guardianship matters that are a concern to you or any other legal issues regarding children.