Responsible, loving, and caring parent?

Do you consider yourself to be a responsible, loving and caring parent?

Do you consider yourself to be a responsible, loving, and caring parent?I would say that nearly all of you reading this would answer “yes”.  Most parents will want to the very best for their children in terms of upbringing, education, health and welfare but very few parents think about planning for the possibility of their children becoming orphans.  It isn’t a nice thought but very important and necessary, because we never know what might happen in life.I recently went to see a family friend, Jane, who has two small children aged 2 and 4, and is married to Danny.  It was a warm day and the children were running in and out of the house to and from the garden whilst playing.

One of them banged his head on the door and started crying so she rushed to him, then later her daughter wanted to go to the toilet but couldn’t go on her own, then they both wanted a drink and a snack.  It was never ending!  She began telling me that when she goes out with her children she has to be well prepared carrying with her snacks and drinks, wet-wipes, plasters and Calpol.

“But if you and Danny were no longer here, if you tragically died in a car accident who would do all of that for your children? Who would bring them up?” I asked. She didn’t seem overly bothered at first and replied “I don’t know. Probably my parents or my brother.” I then went on to ask “Have you put any provisions in place for this?”“What do you mean?” she asked“Have you made a Will with a Guardianship clause in it?”“No, neither of us have a Will” she replied.  She then began to look worried as she was watching her children running around the house, happily playing.  “What are you saying – that my children wouldn’t automatically go to my family?”“That’s exactly what I’m saying” I told her. “There’s no guarantee that your children would go to who you would want to look after them and bring them up.  On the same token you don’t have a say in who you wouldn’t want them to go to.  Once you’re dead you don’t have a voice, you don’t have a say in what happens to your children.  Social Services have control over them, and Social Services make the decision as to who your children are brought by because you didn’t leave a Will stating your instructions and wishes”She sounded annoyed…. “I’m fed up with the State always interfering, taking over and making decisions for us”“Well you have the power to do something about it!  You can make the decision instead of leaving it to strangers, should the worst happen.  In fact, you owe it to your children to do this.  You run around after them making sure they have enough to eat, you comfort them when they get hurt, you take them to the Doctor when they are sick, you make sure that they are as safe as they can be at all times.  If  you were going hire a child-minder you wouldn’t just choose anyone to look after them would you?” She shook her head.“You’re here now to protect them, but what if you weren’t?  What if they were taken into care and brought up by strangers, and even worse – separated from each other?”“It doesn’t bear thinking about” she said.

Jane and Danny are responsible, loving, and caring parents just like you and they’d been meaning to make their Wills for some time but kept putting it off. The thing is, it wasn’t about them anymore and making a Will wasn’t for their benefit – it was for the benefit of their children.It was to protect their children and to ensure that they could nominate the best people they knew and trusted to take care of their children should Jane and Danny no longer be around to do so themselves.  It was about being responsible parents and doing the best for their children.So ask yourself this – as a responsible, loving, and caring parent why wouldn’t you make a Will with Guardianship provisions?  Why would you put it off when you know your children wouldn’t be able to fend for themselves if something happened to you?  Delaying it doesn’t make you invincible.  It just means you’re taking a huge gamble.


Michelle Shergill


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