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It is a little known fact that a parent is NOT automatically the ‘guardian of property’ for their Most parents with a child under 18 name a guardian for that child to cover the possibility that on the parent’s death the child’s other sibling(s), if any, is/are unable or incapable of looking after the child.

The Courts retain ultimate authority

The appointment of a guardian in a will is only binding for 90 days. The Courts – not parents – retain the ultimate authority to appoint a guardian of a child.

Obviously, the expressed wishes of the parent are an important factor that the Courts will consider, but it is just one of many factors that will be considered.

Key points to remember

  • For some families, the choice of guardian is obvious. For many others, the choice is very difficult. There is no shame in that, but do not let it derail the whole process. It is better to have a will that does not address guardianship than to have no will at all.


  • Who is most suitable can vary on a number of factors, including the age and development of the child, and the most suitable guardian for your child can change over time. Remember, guardians age too!


  • Guardianship can be difficult, and can consume a lot of emotional and financial resources. Make sure that your proposed guardian has the ability and capacity to look after for the child.


  • If you can, make sure that you provide sufficient resources for the guardian to provide for your child. Seriously consider adding compensation for the guardian.


  • Make sure that the potential guardian agrees to accept the appointment.
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