Research commissioned by SFE (Solicitors for the Elderly) shows 76% of parents in the North West have no legal plans in place to make sure their children are looked after should the parents die.
According to the research, parents in the North West are almost completely unaware of the risks of not identifying a legal guardian in a will. Only one in ten (13% of) parents in the North West understand that without a will in place, social services or the courts have the power to step in to decide what will happen to their children.
The research has been highlighted as part of Update Your Will Week 2023 (23rd – 29th January) – a campaign organised by SFE, a membership body of over 1,700 UK solicitors specialised in advising people planning for the future. As part of the campaign, parents are being urged to review their plans and make sure they have an updated will in place.
The new research also reveals:
- Around half of the respondents in the North West (52%) have experienced a life-changing event, such as getting married, divorced or having a child, since they last updated their will – meaning it is likely to be out of date.
- Over one-fifth (22%) of respondents in the North West know someone who has been affected by something going wrong with a will.
- One-fifth (19%) of respondents in the North West believe it’s possible to update a will by amending the original document and initialling the changes – it is not possible to legally update a will this way!
Jill Waddington, Director at O’Donnell Solicitors, explains:
“This research is once again a reminder that many people don’t have a will in place. For parents of children under 18, this is likely to mean that a legal guardian isn’t in place. Godparents don’t count as legal guardians, so to avoid the risk of the courts deciding what happens to your children, you really should make a will and update it every five years.
These figures really are a stark reminder of the need for people to forward plan and put well-considered frameworks in place. With four in ten wills in the North West being out of date, it really is a good time to check when your will was last updated and check if it is still relevant to your circumstances and wishes.
It is widely recommended that a will is reviewed every five years or when a major change in your life impacts you or your loved ones, such as divorce, marriage, new birth or even death in the family. Should the review necessitate it, an updated version of a will should be created.
For more information or to make an appointment with our Private Client team to make or review your will, please contact Jill Waddington.
Survey data (commissioned by SFE):
- In December 2022, Censuswide polled 2,109 UK adults for SFE
- In 2020, SFE polled 1,005 British adults aged 40+ to see if they had a will in place – 65% said they did.