A new study suggests that more than half (56 per cent) of UK parents do not have a Will. This means that in the event of an unexpected death, their children could potentially be left without legal guardianship.
Yet despite this, the research, which was carried out by a prominent UK charity, found that the number of parents who don’t have a Will has actually increased year-on-year, up from 54 per cent in 2017.
Regionally speaking, the study found that parents in North East England and Northern Ireland were the least likely to have made a Will, with around three quarters of people in these areas admitting to not having these essential legal documents.
Meanwhile, 64 per cent of parents in the North West said the same, as did 60 per cent of parents in Wales, the survey found.
In England and Wales, if a parent dies without a Will, a guardian will automatically be appointed for their children by a Court.
There is a common myth in many parts of the UK that a Court will automatically grant custody to the likes of grandparents, aunts and uncles in the event of a parent’s unexpected death – but this is not necessarily the case and the person appointed could just as easily be someone neither related nor previously known to their children.
The news highlights the importance of parents seeking specialist legal advice to ensure they have a water-tight Will in place. This can also help to ensure that their estate is passed on in line with their wishes when they die.