Research commissioned by SFE (Solicitors for the Elderly) and Streeter Marshall shows 70% of parents in the South East 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 two out of ten (18% of) parents in the Southeast understand 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).

Alison Stimpson, our SFE Accredited Solicitor, explains:

“It’s shocking how many parents don’t have a Will in place or haven’t appointed a legal guardian for their children. 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.

“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. Our research shows that four in ten Wills in the Southeast are out of date, and many people don’t have one in the first place.”

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

•             Only 56% of respondents in the Southeast have updated their Will within the last five years, meaning four out of ten Wills in the region are out of date.

•             Half of the respondents in the Southeast have experienced a life changing event, such as getting married, divorced or having a child, since they last updated their Will.

•             One fifth (22%) of respondents in the Southeast know someone who has been affected by something going wrong with a Will.

Streeter Marshall 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.

Get in touch with our Wills and Probate solicitors today to book your appointment to review your Will.

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.