If you and your spouse pass away, your children under the age of 18 will need a legal guardian.
If you do not have a will nominating someone, the courts will decide- and this may not lead to an outcome you would be content with. The guardians you nominate should be familiar to you and the children, you should be confident they have your children’s welfare and best interests at heart, and they should be of good character as they will be the ones with authority over your children.
We recommend appointing two guardians as one may not able to accept the responsibility at the time the need arises due to circumstances.
If you wish to appoint a guardian overseas, we recommend appointing another guardian in the UK so that, if any visa arrangements are required for the children to reach your nominated guardian, they will be taken care of in the meantime.
Make sure the people you are considering nominating as a guardian are aware of it and have confirmed they are willing to accept the responsibility to ensure that your children’s circumstances if you were to pass are securely taken care of.
Appointing personal executors rather than professionals can save you thousands of pounds.
Of course, that saving to your estate means little if your estate is not handled competently, leading to significant delays and hassle for your loved ones.
To confidently select the right people, it’s worth knowing what executors are expected to do. Once the death has been registered, executors will need to retrieve the will.
They will then be responsible for: applying for grant of probate and filling in an inheritance tax declaration (the legal power to handle the estate), informing all organisations of the death (banks, utility companies etc. so that accounts can be closed), gathering all the assets, settling debts and any tax liability, valuing the estate and then distributing it to the inheritors according to the will. They should keep accounts of their activities so demonstrate that they have discharged their duty responsibly.
Given that the role of executor is a lot of responsibility (executors act under a legal duty), we recommend appointing people, between them, are: reliable, honest, familiar with you and your family, have relevant skills (e.g. experience in law or tax) or are competent enough to seek advice from relevant professionals where necessary, and are organised.
Do make sure that you have discussed appointing them as an executor to confirm that they are willing. If the people you nominate refuse the responsibility, it will fall to the courts to administer your will.
This article is part of our Islamic Wills FAQ series.