The Children Act 1989
Appointing a Guardian for your child

What do these words mean?

‘APPOINTEE’ the person appointed to be guardian
‘TESTATOR’ the person who makes a Will
‘PARENTAL RESPONSIBILITY’ please see our separate Fact Sheet

The appointment of Guardians and the rights they have are governed by
the Children Act 1989. A Guardian can only be appointed in accordance
with that section. A parent with Parental Responsibility may appoint a
Guardian by Will or by a document which (s)he dates and signs and which
provides that the appointment only take effect on his/her death.
The appointee will become the child’s guardian if, at the death of the

  1. no parent with Parental Responsibility survived him; or
  2. there was a Residence Order in force in the sole favor of the Testator
    relating to the child.

If neither of these conditions is fulfilled, the appointee will not automatically
become the child’s Guardian but s(he) will be entitled to apply to the Court
to be appointed Guardian.
Notice of such an application must be given to every person who has
Parental Responsibility.
Where a Testator has children under the age of 18, the appointment of
Testamentary Guardians should always be considered. The expression
‘Testamentary Guardian’ merely indicates that the Guardian has been
appointed by a Will.
It is, of course important that the Testator should obtain the consent of the
proposed Guardian before making the appointment.

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The information contained in these documents does not constitute legal advice and is not a substitute for a personal consultation. Call us for an appointment today!