Keep wills updated for your children’s sake, parents are urged

Update your will

Parents are being urged to keep their wills up-to-date as new figures show that fewer than one in four in the region has a legal guardian in place to care for their children in the event of their death.

A survey commissioned by Bromleys and Solicitors for the Elderly found 76 per cent of parents in the north west have made no legal provision to make sure their children are looked after should they die.

The findings show that parents are almost completely unaware of the risks of not identifying a legal guardian in a will.

Only 13 per cent said they understand that social services or the courts can step in to decide what happens to the children if the parents do not have a will in place.

Now SFE – a membership body of over 1,700 UK solicitors specialising in advising people planning for the future – and ourselves are urging parents to ensure their wills are updated. We have issued the call ahead of Update Your Will Week 2023, which runs from January 23-29.

A total of 2,109 adults across the UK were polled by Censuswide in December for the survey.

Francesca Rigby, head of our wills, probate and planning for the future team, said: “It’s shocking to discover how few parents have a will in place or have 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 the children, parents really should make a will and update it every five years.

“It’s especially important to keep the will up-to-date and take legal advice when life-changing events happen that impact loved ones, such as divorce, marriage or having children.

“The research shows that four in 10 wills in the north west are out-of-date, and many people don’t even have one in the first place.

“Having an up-to-date, well-drafted will is crucial in ensuring a person’s wishes will be carried out in the way they would like when they die.”

The survey showed that 52 per cent of north west respondents have experienced a life-changing event since they last updated their will.

More than one in five – a total of 22 per cent – said they know someone who has been affected by something going wrong with a will.

One in five mistakenly believes it is possible to update a will by amending the original document and initialling the changes.

How we can help

To find out how we can prepare your Will to protect your wishes, please contact our team on our dedicated Wills, Probate and Planning for the Future helpline on 0161 694 4142 for your free initial telephone discussion. If you prefer, you can fill in our online form or alternatively, you can email us on and we’ll call you back.