Caring for Dependants

The person who has died may have left behind young children they were caring for and you will need to ensure that they are taken care of without delay.  Often, a parent will leave a Will appointing legal guardians or they may have completed the necessary form under section 5 of the Children Act 1989 to appoint a guardian.  A guardian will have all the same rights and responsibilities as they would if they were the parent.  If there is a surviving parent, they may have rights over the children and may automatically become their guardian. 


If a child has no living parent and no guardian has been appointed, then an application must be made to the court for a guardian to be appointed, this will usually be a willing family member or friend.  As an absolute last resort, the children may be taken into care by Social Services, even if a temporary arrangement whilst the formalities are being dealt with.

The person who died may well have been the sole carer of an elderly or dependent person who relied upon them for their daily care. If so, you may have to help organise alternative arrangements for this person, and it might be necessary to move them temporarily into a home. Social Services will be able to assist; and they may be able to help the elderly person continue to live at home by providing extra support.