Appointing a Guardian: Guardianship of Infants Act Singapore

As a parent, a constant source of worry would be what would happen to our children if we pass on unexpectedly. If the unexpected occurs, appointing a guardian may affect your child's future. Check out some tips on appointing a guardian under the Guardianship of Infants Act, Singapore.
Alvin T'ngThu Aug 05 2021

As a parent, a constant source of worry would be what would happen to our children if we pass on unexpectedly. Won’t it be good if there could be some way to plan for such a situation so that if the unexpected occurs, at least your children will be cared for?

Well, this worry can be alleviated if you appoint a testamentary guardian for your children in your will. A testamentary guardian is someone you appoint in your will to care for your children upon your passing, and will step into your shoes and take over the role of a parent to your children. If there is no immediate guardian for your child after your passing, your child may be placed in the legal custody of the state until a suitable guardian is found. This may mean that your child may have to undergo a stint in a foster home immediately after losing his or her parents.

Read on to find out more about what testamentary guardians are and what exactly they do.

What are the guardians in charge of and how do they act?

The appointed guardian would generally be in charge of decisions affecting the welfare of your child, and this includes caring for their day-to-day needs as well as their educational and emotional needs.

A common worry when appointing a guardian is whether the assets left to your child will be misused by the guardian. The Guardianship of Infants Act provides that the appointed guardian shall not dispose of any property or lease property belonging to the child without prior approval from the court. This means that the guardian must apply for permission from the court before they can, for example, lease out the condominium unit that you’ve left to your child. Even if a court order is applied for, the court’s primary consideration is the welfare of your child when deciding whether to grant the order [1].

If you decide to appoint a guardian, he or she may act jointly with your spouse or their appointed guardian [2]. Acting jointly means that both would have to agree before a decision is made. If there is a dispute between joint guardians, the court will consider the welfare of the child and make the final decision [3].

Who should I appoint as a guardian?

Having read the above, we’re sure you have an idea of the kind of person you’d entrust your children to. The appointed guardian should be above the age of 21, and ideally a person whom your spouse and children trusts and would have the best interest of your child at heart.

Also note that this person may have to care for your child until he or she comes of age, so the guardian’s age should also be taken into consideration.

How do I appoint a testamentary guardian?

Now that you know what the duties of a guardian are and probably have in mind the person you think is most suitable, the question would then be “how do I appoint a testamentary guardian for my children?”

WillCraft has got you covered in that regard. From only $49, our Premium Wills not only enable you to have an unlimited number of beneficiaries, but also provide you with the option of appointing a testamentary guardian to act jointly with your spouse or his/her appointed guardian if there are no objections.

Well what are you waiting for? Start planning for your children today!

[1] Guardianship of Infants Act (Cap 122, 1985 Rev Ed) s 3. [2] Guardianship of Infants Act (Cap 122, 1985 Rev Ed) s 7. [3] Guardianship of Infants Act (Cap 122, 1985 Rev Ed) s 8.

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