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01st July 2019

John Beecham – is he really providing for the baby?

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John Beecham has a lot on his mind: impressing an Empress, a possible war; family wrangling. So is he really doing all he can to protect baby August? August’s current physical well-being - and security! – are important. However, John needs to take precautions to ensure August is still as well looked after if John dies. Making a Will to protect August financially is part of that and one of the key decisions to make is about who will have physical control of August. There are a lot of women fighting over August already. My colleague Elizabeth Herbert has some comments:

Choosing the right guardians for your infant children is of crucial importance when arranging your affairs and there are a few important myths to dispel. No, guardians and godparents are not the same thing; no, the grandparents don’t have automatic custody if you and your partner both die together. And yes, things can get very complicated (and expensive) if you don’t express your wishes clearly in your Will or in a separate declaration.

Consider your choices carefully. Where do you see your children growing up and how? Who are they close to? Parents or siblings tend to be the obvious choice of guardian but consider your parents’ age and health. Are they in a position to be parents again themselves? Where do your siblings live? Would you mind your children, say, moving school and away from friends and extended family in order to live with your trusted sister in California? Do your guardians have (quite enough) children of their own to look after? Do they want the job? You and your partner may have different ideas about who to appoint. You can appoint different sets of guardians but you need to make sure you clarify which appointment takes effect first.

As you can see this is a complicated area and legal advice is important to help you ensure that your wishes are clear. The last thing your family or your children want is protracted dealings with the Courts and Social Services after your death; an emotive and also costly experience. Legal advice can also help you to navigate various unknown pitfalls. For example, not many people know that where parents are unmarried the biological father may not necessarily have parental responsibility for the child. If he is not named on the birth certificate and does not have a Parental Responsibility Order issued by the Court then if the mother pre-deceased him the father may find himself with no parental rights with regards to his children. I wonder if John is aware of this…

For further information on appointing guardians please visit the following link.

For updating your Will to provide for your children please contact Elizabeth Herbert on 01223 447495 or click here to email Elizabeth. To contact Carolyn Bagley call 01908 247015 or click here to email Carolyn.