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Picking a Guardian

As a parent, the thought of your children being left alone with no one to look after them or their interests is unthinkable. This is why you as a parent appoint guardians in your Will. By appointing a guardian you will have peace of mind knowing you have ensured the future of your child in the unlikely event that both the child’s parents die before they reach adulthood.

The person you choose will essentially be stepping into your shoes, taking on some of the duties that you have as a parent in raising your children
– so think of them in that way. While appointing a guardian is somewhat about trust, it is more about ensuring your child has all their interests represented. It also helps avoid family tensions on both sides which can arise when no guardian is appointed.

While most guardians have your children live with them, you can choose to split this. For example, you may have one of your parents manage the financial and legal affairs for your child or children, but have them live with a sibling or close friend on a daily basis. If you feel this arrangement suits you better, contact our friendly team on 0800 87 87 82 and they will arrange for a consultant to help you with making this choice.

When picking who would be the best guardian, you should consider:

  • Are they able to handle the challenge of raising your children? Not just physically, but emotionally too?
  • Their parenting style. Are their values and beliefs similar to your own?
  • Do they live nearby? If not, how would your children cope with relocating?
  • Do they have a stable relationship? Would they have enough time and energy to dedicate to your children?
  • Do they have kids already? Are their kids a similar age? How will your children fit into their family dynamics?
  • Ask your children. If you think it is appropriate, ask your child what they think of the intended guardian/s as ‘parents’? Do they feel comfortable around them?

We also suggest you have a conversation with the potential guardian to make sure you feel comfortable they are right for the role. This will help them decide whether they are comfortable with taking on the role and they are clear about your wishes and hopes for your children. It can be a good idea to write a few things down in a letter for them to read if they need to.

Should the unthinkable happen, your children will most likely be anxious to know who their guardian will be. For this reason you should store your Will and other important documents securely online so there is easy access by those who need it. myDigital Vault is Perpetual Guardian’s secure online storage facility that you get with our WILLplus service, one of it’s benefits means you can share secure access with anyone you like – for example, the guardian of your children.

Most people consider being asked to be a guardian a compliment, so go ahead and ask!

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Perpetual Guardian is a trading name of The New Zealand Guardian Trust Company Limited and Perpetual Trust Limited. For Authorised Financial Advisers, a disclosure statement is available upon request and free of charge.