Parents are being urged to “face their worst fears to help protect their children” after a survey revealed half of them have not written a will.
A poll by Will Aid, the national will-writing campaign, found that 52 per cent of mums and dads with children under 18 had not assigned legal guardians for them by preparing this vital piece of paperwork.
The news comes as solicitors across the country are taking bookings for Will Aid Month.
This sees participating solicitors waive their fees for will writing services during November, instead inviting clients to make a voluntary donation to Will Aid, with these funds supporting the vital work of the nine partner charities.
Peter de Vena Franks, campaign director for Will Aid, said: “Parents have to face their fears. After all, writing a will is a chance for a parent or parents to protect their children for the worst – leaving clear instructions about who they would like to care for their child in the event of their death.
“If you die without appointing a guardian, and there is no other parent with parental responsibility, an application would need to be made to the court to decide with whom your child will live, in the event of a dispute about this.
“Preparing a correctly worded will with a solicitor is the best way to ensure your wishes are carried out.”
Will Aid patron Robert Peston urged everyone to use Will Aid to get their affairs in order.
The journalist, political editor of ITV News, presenter of the weekly political discussion show Peston and founder of the charity Speakers for Schools, who had two sons with his late wife Siân Busby, said a will helped clarify a person’s wishes after their death.
“Although the act of writing a will can be upsetting, the pain and disruption for your family if you have not written one is likely to be far worse,” he said.
“When my late wife Siân Busby and I wrote our wills in our early 40s, we assumed this was boring insurance for an event that would never happen. Only ten years later, Siân died after a horrible illness, and it fell to me to sort out her affairs.
“Devastated by grief, not really thinking straight, I was so grateful that she had written down what she wanted to do with her money and possessions and had given clear instructions about what should be done with her ashes.”
Will Aid Month takes place across the country from November 1 to 30.
Solicitors who take part provide the will writing service for local people and waive their usual fee, instead you are invited to make a voluntary donation to Will Aid which then supports the work of nine of the UK’s best-loved charities.
The suggested voluntary donation for a basic Will Aid will is £100 for a single will and £180 for a pair of mirror wills.
In 2018, Will Aid raised more than £1 million for the vital work of its charity partners – ActionAid, Age UK, British Red Cross, Christian Aid, NSPCC, Save the Children, Sightsavers, SCIAF (Scotland) and Trocaire (Northern Ireland).
Those who wish to make a will can book their November appointments via www.willaid.org.uk or by calling 0300 0309 558.
For more information visit Will Aid