Can I leave my Guardian(s) a legacy in my Will?

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Yes! It’s fine to leave your guardians a legacy in your will. They are free to spend it as they choose. 

Taking responsibility for the children of deceased parents is thankfully a relatively rare event. But, if you are the parent of minor children (ie under 18), you should absolutely have a will, and you should absolutely have in that will a clause appointing guardians to your children. But, can you or should you leave gifts to your guardian’s (aside from money being paid to them to raise your children)?

When does the Guardian appointment in my Will take effect?

The guardian appointment clause in your will ONLY takes place if BOTH natural/legally adoptive parents have died.

How would Guardians be paid for the cost of bringing up my children?

Guardians are ordinarily paid funds from the children’s inheritance to provide for their ‘education and maintenance’.

Can Guardians profit from my will?

No! They can only be paid money to cover the cost of raising your children. No element of funds they receive should be for their own ‘profit’ or benefit. If you want to make some sort of ‘thank you’ for their own absolute benefit then that must be a separate and specific gift to the guardians in your will (ie NOT relying on the funds being paid via them to raise your children).

How do I make a gift from my will to the Guardians?

The way to provide a financial ‘thank you’ to your guardians is to make a specific gift to them in your will. This can be outright and paid in any event, or you may wish to make the gift contingent upon them acting as guardian (ie only paid if they act as guardians).

Can my Guardian spend a legacy from my Will as they like?

Yes! If you make a gift with ‘no strings’ to your guardians it is their money for them to then do with as they please.

A legacy to your guardians is different to the money they will receive for the education and maintenance of your children.

What is a legacy paid to my Guardian?

A legacy is usually a fixed amount of cash paid as a no strings gift. For example ‘I GIVE £1,000 to Joe Bloggs’.

What is a share of residue paid to my Guardian?

A share of residue is a percentage share of the main part of your estate – ie everything else after expenses have been paid. So for example ‘I GIVE 25% of the rest of my estate to Joe Bloggs’

Should I pay my Guardian a legacy, a share of residue, or nothing?

The more typical route is to pay your guardians a notional thank you by way of a fixed legacy, rather than a share of the residue of your estate. However, it is a matter for each individual! And, whilst you should be aware of the practical pros and cons of each choice, the decision is yours. Indeed, you should not feel under any obligation to leave your chosen guardians anything – it is not mandatory!

Helping Guardians with their responsibilities?

If you are a guardian and you are at all unsure of your legal responsibilities, or you are concerned about what money is or is not being made available to you from the estate of the deceased parents, then do get in touch with our team of expert wills and probate lawyers

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