Writing a will when you have a child

by | May 18, 2022 | Wills

Becoming a parent is a very exciting time in your life; being able to raise a child and nurture them is one of life’s greatest gifts. Planning for your child’s future is also incredibly important, and making sure they have the security they need in the unfortunate circumstance of your passing is essential.

By writing a will, you’ll make sure that any financial issues that may arise are planned for. If you were to die unexpectedly, you also want something in place for your child’s legal guardianship. 

Here, we explain how to go about writing a will when you’re a parent, and why it’s so important. 

Your child’s guardian

Obviously, you don’t want to think of your child growing up without you as their primary caregiver – but life can be unpredictable. If you and your partner die and your child is under 18, they’ll have to have a legal guardian.

If you haven’t named a legal guardian for your child in your will, the local authorities will be charged with deciding your child’s care. 

Having named godparents for your child won’t be enough -legally, they need a named guardian.

Passing on your finances

As well as thinking about caregivers, you’ll also need to keep in mind the financial aspect of your will and what you plan to leave your children. 

If you do die before your child turns 18, it’s imperative to think about the costs of their care and incorporate this into the amount you plan to leave them, where possible.

You’ll also have to decide on the age you’d like your child to receive their inheritance. The automatic age of inheritance in England and Wales is 18, and 17 in Scotland, but if you think they are still too young to be responsible for the sum you’re passing on, you can increase that age. In this circumstance, the assets and funds will be placed in a trust and looked after by a trustee until they come of age.

When leaving money for step-children, it must be clear in your will that you wish for them to be beneficiaries, otherwise they won’t receive anything. If you have children from a previous marriage and aren’t married to your current partner, and you die without leaving a will, all your money may go to your children from the previous marriage. 

Finally, it’s important  to consider the cost of inheritance tax. Normally, there will be no inheritance tax if the value of your estate is below the £325,000 threshold. When leaving your home to your children or grandchildren your threshold may increase to £500,000.  There are other exemptions that you could qualify for, so it is worth planning your estate with a professional.

Executorships and trusts

As mentioned, putting your assets into a trust is a secure way to make sure everything you leave for your children is secure. By naming Harries Watkins Jones as an executor of your estate, you can be sure everything will be looked after until your child is old enough to have access to it all. 

The next step

Death is a very heavy subject to deal with on your own, especially as a new parent. Our wills team at Harries Watkins Jones is on hand to make sure you take all the right steps for the future of your family.

Contact our wills team today.

DISCLAIMER

The information provided is of a general nature. It is not a substitute for specific advice in your own circumstances. You are recommended to obtain specific professional advice from an appropriate professional before you take any action or refrain from action. Whilst we endeavour to use reasonable efforts to furnish accurate, complete, reliable, error free and up-to-date information, we do not warrant that it is such. We and our associates disclaim all warranties. The information can only provide an overview of the regulations in force at the date of publication, and no action should be taken without consulting the detailed legislation or seeking professional advice.

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