Updating your will (or putting one together) is a necessity when you have a baby. While nobody wants to think about their death, as a parent it is essential that you make a plan in case someday you are not around.
You must nominate someone to be legally and financially responsible for your child. If you don’t then your child may not end up with the person you would like to raise them. Or worse, they could end up in state care. If you wish you can appoint two people to be your child’s caretaker, but you can only appoint one if you prefer.
You must also state how you want your estate to be divided and what you want the money to go towards. You may wish a certain amount of money to be allocated to your child’s schooling and college fees. For your child to inherit your assets you will have to make them your beneficiary. However they will not have access to this until they are 18 so you must appoint someone you trust to manage the money until they turn of age, such as a relative or close friend.
If you do not allocate how you would like your money to be divided, the courts will follow a standard formula to divide it and there is no guarantee that your child will have the money that you wish them to have.
A good idea, while it can be more costly and more time consuming, is to have a separate will drawn up from your partner. That is because if you do not, the surviving partner is legally bound to the document you have created jointly. If their circumstances, and those of your children, change dramatically after you pass away, it may be difficult or even impossible for them to change the document you co-signed.
There are various types of trustee and guardian that you can choose for your child, as well as complex tax laws that need to be taken into account, so when the time comes to draw up a will, it’s always best to hire a solicitor, who can make sure that your best interests, and those of your children, are served.