Update your wills

Eight of out ten parents in the South West have no legal guardian in place to care for their children in the event of their deaths

| Published on January 23, 2023

Eight of out ten parents in the South West have no legal guardian in place to care for their children in the event of their deaths

Research commissioned by SFE (Solicitors for the Elderly) shows eight out of ten parents in the South West have no legal plans in place to make sure their children are looked after, should the parents die. In fact, parents in the South West are the least prepared in the whole of the UK. 82% of parents in the South West have not appointed legal guardians for their children, as compared to the national average of 70%.

According to the research, parents in the region are almost completely unaware of the risks of not identifying a legal guardian in a will. Only one fifth (17% of) parents in the South West are aware that social services or the courts can step in to decide what happens to your children if you don’t have a will in place.

SFE, a membership body of over 1,700 UK solicitors specialised in advising people planning for the future, is calling on parents to make sure they have an updated will in place ahead of Update Your Will Week 2023 (23rd – 29th January).

Laura Clarke, Associate Solicitor at Humphries Kirk, explains:

“It’s alarming how many parents do not have a will in place or have not appointed a legal guardian for their children. Godparents or grandparents do not 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.

“It is crucial to keep your will up to date and take legal advice when life-changing events happen, like getting re-married or having children.”

The new research commissioned by SFE and carried out by Censuswide also reveals:

  • Only 48% of respondents in the South West have updated their will within the last five years, meaning over half of the wills in the region may not be up to date.
  • Around a third of respondents in the South West (30%) have experienced a life changing event, such as getting married, divorced or having a child, since they last updated their will.
  • One in ten respondents in the South West (11%) know someone who has been affected by something going wrong with a will.

How we can we help

Humphries Kirk recommend reviewing and updating your will every five years, or when a major change in your life occurs that impacts you or your loved ones, such as divorce, marriage, a new birth or even death in the family. Having an up to date, well drafted will is crucial in ensuring your wishes are carried out in the way you’d like when you die.

Our expert solicitors can guide you through the issues when making a will or drafting a letter of wishes, or reviewing these, and we will help you to make appropriate and legally valid provisions.

To find out more about how to make or update your Will, please contact your nearest office, or check out our website at Humphries Kirk LLP has offices in Parkstone, Poole, Southbourne, Wareham, Swanage, Cranborne Chase, Crewkerne and Dorchester.

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.


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