Vincents Solicitors’ supports ‘Update Your Will Week’
New research from Solicitors for the Elderly shows worrying scenarios
Three quarters of parents in the North 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), and supported by Vincents Solicitors, 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 region 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 social services or the courts can step in to decide what happens to under 18s if you don’t have a will in place.
SFE, a membership body of over 1,700 UK solicitors which specialises in advising people planning for the future, is calling on parents to make sure they have a will in place as part of their Update Your Will Week 2023 (23rd – 29th January) awareness raising campaign. #UYWW.
Katie Shires, Vincents’ SFE-accredited private client solicitor, points out that at just £200 for a basic will updated every five years, it works out around a-penny-a-day to protect your family’s future. She said: “As a parent myself, I can’t believe how many people I know with children don’t have a will in place. I ask them, what will happen to them if you die, and the answers are quite sobering. There is a lot of assumption and misunderstanding and I have to tell them that there are no guarantees unless they have a formal will in place.
“Some people assume Godparents or grandparents would automatically get the children. That’s far from assured. Godparents don’t count as legal guardians and family members won’t necessarily want to, or be able to, step in.
“The only way to avoid the risk of the courts deciding what happens to your children is to write it down in a will, and who can put a price on that peace of mind? And don’t forget, it needs to be updated every five years as a change in circumstances can make a big impact.”
The new research, commissioned by SFE and carried out by Censuswide, also reveals:
• Around half of 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such as getting married, divorced or having a child, since they last updated their will – meaning it is likely to be out of date.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 initialing the changes – it is not possible to legally update a will this way!
Katie added: “I can’t stress how important it is to keep your will up to date and take legal advice when life-changing events happen, like getting re-married or having children. The SFE research shows that four in ten wills in the North West are out of date, and many people in the region don’t even have one in the first place.
“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. Not having one puts unnecessary pressure and stress on your loved ones while they are grieving, it’s simply not worth ignoring the issue.”
To contact Katie Shires and Vincents’ Private Client team, please call 01772 348 926 or email KatieShires@vslaw.co.uk or to find out more about SFE visit: www.sfe.legal
SFE accredited Katie Shires is a Private Client specialist at Vincents Solicitors in Penwortham