Ensuring the well-being of your minor children is paramount when crafting a will. This includes selecting the right person to serve as their legal guardian. The process involves careful consideration of the prospective guardian’s lifestyle, values, and financial stability. However, another critical question arises: Should you allocate funds to the guardian within your will?

The Importance of Financial Support for Guardians

Naming a guardian is a significant step, but it’s equally crucial to understand the financial implications for the person assuming this role. When someone steps into the guardianship role, their life undergoes substantial changes. They might face increased household and educational expenses and, in some cases, may even need to remodel their home to accommodate the children.

Determining the Appropriate Amount

The amount of money to leave a guardian isn’t fixed and can vary widely based on several factors:

  • Children’s Ages and Needs: Younger children may require more prolonged support than older children nearing adulthood.
  • Guardian’s Financial Situation: Assess the financial challenges the guardian may encounter. Are they financially stable, or will they struggle to meet the additional expenses?

In some scenarios, even a medium-sized estate might suffice without setting aside additional funds for the guardian. Conversely, $20,000 might be sufficient for some, while for others, it might not cover the expenses. In some instances, the required amount could be as high as $50,000 or $100,000. However, new parents in their early careers might not have substantial wealth, making large bequests challenging. It is strongly advised to review your finances and therefore the level of life insurance cover needed. I strongly advise all my clients to assign the life insurance policy to a trust (normally provided free of cost from the insurance provider).

More about INSURANCE…

Utilization of Funds

It is our recommendation that the funds be left to the children via a trust. The trust provides protection for these funds and ensures that they are used only for the benefit of your children. When deciding to leave money to your child’s trust, consider the potential uses of these funds, which may include:

  • Health-Related Expenses: Covering medical and healthcare costs for the children.
  • Education Expenses: Funding school fees, tuition, and other educational needs.
  • Basic Child Support: Providing for essentials like food, clothing, and daily care.
  • Housing and Vehicle Expenses: Covering costs related to home renovations or purchasing a larger vehicle to accommodate the children.

Ensuring Collaboration Between Trustee and Guardian

The trustee is responsible for distributing money to the guardian to support the children. It’s crucial that the trustee and guardian work together seamlessly to ensure the children’s needs are met adequately. It is our advice, as is standard STEP advice, to have different trustees from the children’s Guardians (Or appoint the Guardian as a trustee but have an additional trustee alongside).


Deciding whether to leave money to your child’s legal guardian or a trust is a significant consideration in your estate planning. Evaluate all relevant factors, including your children’s needs and the guardian’s financial situation. By doing so, you can ensure that the chosen guardian can provide the necessary care and support for your children, even in your absence.