Is your will up to date?

By Ben Carey on 2 February, 2023

One of Wiltshire’s leading law firms, Goughs Solicitors, is encouraging people to check that their wills are up to date and ensure plans are in place should the worst happen.

According to research commissioned by SFE (Solicitors for the Elderly), eight out of ten parents in the South West have no legal plans to ensure their children are looked after should the parents pass away.

Overall, parents in the South West are the least prepared in the whole of the UK. 82 per cent of parents in the region have not appointed legal guardians for their children, as compared to the national average of 70 per cent.

The research shows that many parents are seemingly unaware of the risks of not identifying a legal guardian in a will. Only one fifth (17 per cent) of parents in the South West understand that social services or the courts can step in to decide what happens to your children if there is no will in place.

Goughs Solicitors are keen to highlight the work of SFE, a membership body of over 1,700 UK solicitors offering expertise in planning for the future.

Trish Watkins, Senior Associate at Goughs, said, “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.”

Further findings from the SFE’s research include:

  • Only 48 per cent of respondents in the South West have updated their will within the last five years, meaning over half of the wills in the region are out of date
  • Around a third of respondents in the South West (30 per cent) have experienced a life changing event, such as getting married, divorced or having a child, since they last updated their will
  • One in ten respondents in the South West (11 per cent) know someone who has been affected by something going wrong with a will