If you have children under 18, who would you like to appoint as their guardians?

This section will only appear in the interview if you have indicated that you have one or more children who are under 18. If this is the case, you need to appoint at least one guardian for them.

The role of a guardian is to provide day-to-day care for a child under 18 whose parents have both died. The interview allows you to appoint one or two guardians. Many people choose to appoint a couple such as the child’s aunt and uncle or close family friends.

You can choose to appoint a single guardian, two separate guardians, or two guardians who are a couple (e.g. Mr and Mrs Smith).

You will need the full name and address of any person who you wish to appoint as a guardian. Remember to discuss the appointment with them before you finalise your will!

One common misconception is that a child’s godparent is automatically their guardian. This is not the case. You need to formally appoint a guardian and the easiest way of doing so is in your will or by codicil. You may choose to appoint a godparent but the appointment is certainly not automatic.

Who else has parental responsibility for your children apart from you?

The interview will ask who else is currently responsible for your children apart from you. This refers to who else has what is known as parental responsibility for the children. This is important because if you die, the care of your children passes to your spouse or civil partner or anyone who has parental responsibility for them.

In most cases, a child's parents share parental responsibility for a child, even if the parents are no longer together. You cannot use your will to stop the other parent having that responsbility. 

Your will is drafted so that any appointment of guardians only comes into effect if both parents (or everyone with parental responsibility for the children) should die before the children are 18.

Substitute guardians

The interview also allows you to appoint substitute guardians who will act as your children’s guardians if your first choice of guardians is either unable or unwilling to act when the time comes. You’ll need the same details for them as for first-choice guardians.

For more information, see our page Appointing a guardian in a will.