If a parent of minor children dies and there is no one else with parental responsibility for them, then the Courts will decide who is to be granted parental responsibility for the children left behind.
There are occasions when you can appoint a guardian even if there is a surviving parent with parental responsibility. In this case you would need to have grounds to show that the surviving parent is not capable of bringing up your child.
Parental responsibility can be a little confusing. The following may help determine whether parental responsibility applies to your situation (England and Wales only; the situation is different in Scotland and Northern Ireland):
• The mother of a child will automatically have parental responsibility under law. The father of a child will also have parental responsibility under law if he was married to the mother of the child at the time of the child’s birth.
• If the child was born from 1st December 2003, a father who was not married to the mother of the child at the time of the child’s birth will automatically have parental responsibility if his name is registered on the birth certificate.
• If the child was born before 1st December 2003, a father who was not married to the mother of the child at the time of the child’s birth will not automatically have parental responsibility, even if his name appears on the birth certificate.
• Paternal parental responsibility can be acquired in a number of other ways such as by marrying the mother and having the birth re-registered as a child of marriage, making a parental responsibility agreement with the mother, obtaining a parental responsibility order from the Court, obtaining a residence order from the Court; or becoming the child’s guardian on the mother’s death.
By making a Will you can appoint Guardians for your children who are under the age of 18. For more details about making a Will call 01752 607040 or email firstname.lastname@example.org