Guardianship of child in the event of my death

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Deaths, Funerals & Probate
12 replies 1.8K views
LittlemeeLittlemee Forumite
11 Posts
edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Deaths, Funerals & Probate
Hi, Im looking for a bit of advice I am mum to 1 son aged 7. Do I have the right to choose a legal guardian for my son in the event of my death or would he have to go to live with his father.
Despite efforts to try and encourage my ex partner to have a good relationship with our son I am still failing :( He has stayed at his dads no more than 5 nights in 7 years and only sees him around 10 times per year (usually for about an hour) despite having no restrictions on when he can see him. He also does not contribute financially towards his upbringing. I am just very worried that if something were to happen to me, my son would be sent to live with his father who does not have a great relationship and most of all he doesn't know and be taken away from our family, friends and school who all contribute greatly to his stable upbringing.. Thanks in advance.:(

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Replies

  • theoreticatheoretica Forumite
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    No and yes... you can't leave a child in your will as you would an object. You can express desires but not instructions. On the other hand he might not go automatically to the father - especially if the father didn't want the change in lifestyle this would entail - and as he gets older the son's desires about where he lives will have more and more weight.

    You may leave whoever you choose as financial trustees for your son.
    But a banker, engaged at enormous expense,
    Had the whole of their cash in his care.
    Lewis Carroll
  • Thanks, I know I can't leave him to someone in a will but was hoping someone may know about leaving a legal guardian. My son will be quite well off financially if I did die early and I do know that money does motivate his father and would expect my son to live with him which is obviously the wrong reason ;/ Hopefully I will live many more years but I do want to put the best measures in place. I might add, his dad lives 47 miles away which would mean moving my son from everything he has known his entire life.

  • edited 1 March 2015 at 1:59AM
    Tuesday_TenorTuesday_Tenor Forumite
    998 Posts
    edited 1 March 2015 at 1:59AM
    Do you have someone else in mind who you would prefer as legal guardian - your own parent, sibling, friend?

    Search for other threads on this forum about the same issue. There are quite a lot of things for you and the potential guardian and potential trustees to think about. Has the person got room for your child, or would a bigger house be needed? Are there (or could there in future be) other children in the family and how would the guardian like to manage the finances if your child has much more money than the other children? ...

    See a solicitor to make sure everything is well-recorded, incl:
    - lack of much relationship between father and child
    - lack of financial support from father
    - who the financial trustees will be (not necessarily the same as the guirdian), and on what terms can they release funds for your child
    - your guardianship wishes and the reasons they will be the most beneficial for your child (least disruption etc.)

    None of these would absolutely prevent the father getting guardianship, but a clearly-reasoned plan would help your case.
    And, from what you say, if the father is not the trustee of the funds, probably he wouldn't be interested anyway ....
  • For example, here's a recent thread from from someone who wanted to dictate details such as private schooling. Others pointing out you can't dictate everything from 'beyond the grave'. No one could reasoanably take on the guardianship if they have no discretion at all, e.g. if chil didn't want to go to different school from others in the family; if the local private schools were poorer standard in relation to excellent state school, etc ...

    http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=5153696
  • g6jns_2g6jns_2 Forumite
    1.2K Posts
    Littlemee wrote: »
    Hi, Im looking for a bit of advice I am mum to 1 son aged 7. Do I have the right to choose a legal guardian for my son in the event of my death or would he have to go to live with his father.
    Despite efforts to try and encourage my ex partner to have a good relationship with our son I am still failing :( He has stayed at his dads no more than 5 nights in 7 years and only sees him around 10 times per year (usually for about an hour) despite having no restrictions on when he can see him. He also does not contribute financially towards his upbringing. I am just very worried that if something were to happen to me, my son would be sent to live with his father who does not have a great relationship and most of all he doesn't know and be taken away from our family, friends and school who all contribute greatly to his stable upbringing.. Thanks in advance.:(
    Ultimately it will be up to the Court to decide who gets custody in the event of your premature demise. Making a will, keeping it up to date, and including a letter with your wishes regarding your son would be a good start. Any competent solicitor that specialises in family law should be able to help you. I would also suggest you do that as a matter of urgency. Sadly unexpected accidents do happen often with unexpected tragic consequences.
  • LittlemeeLittlemee Forumite
    11 Posts
    Thank you for your advice.. I will be finding a good family lawyer this week. I have kept a diary but only since last year regarding lack of contact. My family is whom I would want to be my sons legal guardian, we, as a family have discussed this already.. My sister has enough room and is financially able to take on the responsibility if needed :) Hopefully It will never be needed but you can never say never x

  • g6jns_2g6jns_2 Forumite
    1.2K Posts
    Littlemee wrote: »
    Thank you for your advice.. I will be finding a good family lawyer this week. I have kept a diary but only since last year regarding lack of contact. My family is whom I would want to be my sons legal guardian, we, as a family have discussed this already.. My sister has enough room and is financially able to take on the responsibility if needed :) Hopefully It will never be needed but you can never say never x
    You might also ask at the same time how to get some money now out of the father.
  • LittlemeeLittlemee Forumite
    11 Posts
    g6jns wrote: »
    You might also ask at the same time how to get some money now out of the father.

    Ha ha thanks.. I have tried but he fluctuates between self employed and unemployed and all I am entitled to it seems is £5 per wk which is an insult..:(

  • G6JNSG6JNS Forumite
    563 Posts
    Littlemee wrote: »
    Ha ha thanks.. I have tried but he fluctuates between self employed and unemployed and all I am entitled to it seems is £5 per wk which is an insult..:(
    Point taken!
  • TBagpussTBagpuss Forumite
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    One thing you can do is ensure that you appoint trustees to take care of any financial legacy which you leave to your child. That can help to ensure that there is less of a financial motive for his father to want him, if something ahappens to you.

    The othe thing is to keep an up to date letter of wishes in which you set out what you want for your son, in terms of where / with whom he lives and why. If a worst-case scenario, your family might have to apply for a Child Arragnements ORder to say that your son should live with them. Your letter of wishes would be useful to them as it would give them detaialed, up to date information about the relationship your son has with his father, the level of contact he has been having etc. A court would be able to take that into account, as well as evidence from your family members and your son's father, to decide what was in your son's best interests. The older your son is, the more he himself would get a say, too.
    All posts are my personal opinion, not formal advice Always get proper, professional advice (particularly about anything legal!)
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