Third of parents haven't named a guardian for their children in their will

Credit Andrea Piacquadio

New research from charity will-writing scheme, Will Aid, has found 33% of parents haven’t named a guardian for their children in their will.

If both parents die without officially appointing a guardian, courts will decide who is best to look after their children.

This means the person chosen to look after them until adulthood may not be in accordance with the parent’s wishes.

The best way parents can ensure their children are looked after how they would like in the event of their death, is to appoint a guardian in their will, and parents are encouraged to do so during Will Aid month.

Will Aid takes place every November and sees participating solicitors write basic wills for people in exchange for a voluntary donation to the campaign, which supports the work of nine UK charities.

Lauren Smith from law firm Taylor Bracewell, which has raised more than £120,000 for charities through the Will Aid scheme, said: “People often think wills are only for leaving parts of your estate to loved ones or good causes after you die. But, for parents with children under 18, wills can play an essential part of their future.

“If both parents die without officially appointing a guardian to look after their children, then the courts will decide who will take on that role. While the courts will work to do what is best for your children, it may not be what you think is best.

“The best way to ensure your underage children are looked after in the event of your death is to name a guardian in your will.”

People can appoint more than one guardian within their will, but it is wise for both parents to appoint the same person(s) to avoid any conflict following their death.

The poll, commissioned by Will Aid, also found 49% of people across the UK still haven’t created a will.

Peter de Vena Franks, Campaign Director for Will Aid, said: “Whether you are leaving finances and property to loved ones or choosing a person to bring up your child, getting a professionally written will is best way to ensure you wishes are respected when you die.

“Will Aid month provides the perfect opportunity to get this important legal document in place, by providing easy access to participating solicitors across the UK.

“As well as getting your affairs in order, you will be helping support the life-changing work of nine of the UK’s best-loved charities.”

Will Aid takes place every November and involves participating solicitors volunteering their time and expertise to write basic wills for the public.

Instead of taking their normal fee, solicitors ask clients to make a voluntary donation to Will Aid which is then shared between the campaign’s nine partner charities: ActionAid, Age UK, British Red Cross, Christian Aid, NSPCC, Save the Children, Sightsavers, SCIAF and Trocaire.

The suggested donation for a basic will is £100 and £180 for a pair of mirror wills.

People are encouraged to book their appointment for November with a Will Aid solicitor as soon as possible before bookings are full.

To find out which local solicitors are taking part and to book an appointment, call 0300 0309 558 or visit www.willaid.org.uk.