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What happens to my child if I die?

What happens to my child if I die?


It is important to plan for your child's future and make sure things are in place in case they outlive you. This is the case for all children and especially those who have additional needs.


A solicitor can help you prepare a Will – this can include a clause about guardianship. The Law Society can provide details of firms which specialise in this area. Some charities, such as Cancer research UK and UNICEF, offer free Will writing services, but may hope that you will include a legacy payment benefitting them after death.


A Parent/Carer can appoint a Testamentary Guardian to take legal responsibility over a child either in a will, or by a document in writing complying with the requirements of Section 5 of the Children Act 1989. Without a Testamentary Guardianship Order in place, the court will decide who to appoint as the legal guardian for a child, and this may not be who the parent would have chosen for themselves.


The Child Law Advice website has useful guidance to help you understand how to plan and prepare for such circumstances: Testamentary Guardianship -


If there is no surviving parent/no-one with parental responsibility at the time of your death, then Children’s Services (Social Services) will assess where the child would be best placed (A relative, foster carer or in care). If there are family members who wish to care for a child, then they can apply to the court either for a Residence (Live With) Order or a Special Guardianship Order.


If your child has a physical or learning disability, it is important to have as much, up to date, information available as possible, to enable the person who takes on their care to affectively meet their needs.  Children’s Social Care can support with this to ensure as smooth a transition as possible.



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