What happens if somebody dies when no guardians have been appointed? When you make a Will, one of the most important things you do is appoint Testamentary Guardians for your children if you die. Those are the people who will look after your children legally, if you’re no longer around to look after them for yourself
If you die and you haven’t appointed testamentary guardians, there are lots of scare stories that the local authority will turn up and tell you children into care. It’s true that your child will become a ward of court and they will be subject to a residency order. But the last thing the local authority want to do is to take your child into care. It disrupts that child at a time of grief, loss and great emotion.
It’s always best for the local authority to find a family member who can make a temporary residency order. The local authority will then go through all of the normal procedures, making sure that the person with the temporary residency order is the right person to look after the child on a permanent basis. If not, they may rehouse the child with somebody else. So it may be that a temporary residency order is with the grandparents, whereas the permanent residency order is with the sibling of the deceased. This can all be avoided by appointing testamentary guardians in a properly drafted legal a valid Will. It’s one of the most important reasons to make a Will and avoids the local authority being involved. It’s really well worth doing if you’ve got children under 18.
Hopefully that was useful for you. If you want to find out more about this topic, please contact us.