Do you ever think about what would happen to your children and family if something bad were to happen to you? Would they be financially stable? Would they have a place to go?

Parenting on Female First

Parenting on Female First

If you haven't spared a thought to this, maybe it's time you had.

Making a start on your will can be tricky, for one, it's not the most fun thing to do in the world, and two, where do you start?

But it's important to put these procedures in place for the sake of your children and the rest of your family.

A new survey conducted by Childhood Bereavement Network has revealed that parents are failing to make adequate plans for the children they would leave behind should they die early,

A lack of information, busy lives and a reluctance to think about death, means parents of young children struggle to make plans for their children in case the worst happens.

The research is published to mark the launch of the Childhood Bereavement Network new campaign Plan If which encourages all parents to put in place a legacy of practical and personal things which would make a difference to their children should one or both parents die.

The survey found that only 1 in 4 parents of young children have an up to date will, yet almost three quarters think it is important to have one. When it came to making plans regarding the guardianship of their children should both parents die before the children are grown up, half of parents had no definite plans in place.

The Childhood Bereavement Network estimates that every 22 minutes in the UK, a parent dies leaving dependent children. By the age of 16, one in twenty young people will have had a parent die, yet findings showed that almost half of those parents who had no plans in place for guardianship said they haven't thought about who would care for their children, with 21% saying they haven't got round to it.

A further 1 in 6 found it too hard to think about, with the same number struggling to decide who they would choose to look after their children.

The Plan If campaign encourages ALL parents to put in place the practical and personal things that would make a difference to their children and families if they were to die while their children were still young, things such as wills, plans for guardianship, insurance, family stories and letters for children to read in the future, providing comfort, stability and security at the toughest time.

Alison Penny, Coordinator of the Childhood Bereavement Network said: "Mortality statistics show that in people of parental age around one in four deaths are unexpected, with little or no time to put arrangements in place. We believe in the importance of all parents making plans now in case they die while their children are still young.

"Practical tasks, such as making a will and planning guardianship can take some of the uncertainty out of life after a parental death, and personal tasks, such as capturing family stories and writing letters to children, can provide comfort and opportunities to remember and maintain bonds if a parent dies."

Anonymous respondent :

'My husband always made sure we had life insurance to cover the mortgage. We wrote our wills when our first child was born, and included guardians in case something happened to both of us. When he died, leaving two children under 5, I was so glad he made that such a priority ... It's harder than you think to talk about things; I could never ask him about funeral arrangements, for example, so when he did die, I had to guess. Now I have a file on my computer, so no one has to ask me, or to guess my wishes.'

Anonymous respondent:

'My dad died when I was 15 and there had been no planning for this. My mum was 40 years old and had a nervous breakdown so I went from having a secure home, which we lost, to having neither parent with me and having to go to work to support my mum and I. There was no planning around guardianship and although I had a maternal grandmother we did not get on too well at the time... Had we had a will we would have been better off financially as poor decisions were made just to survive as well as around what assets we did have. It would also have been helpful to have known who would support me in the absence of my parents.'

The Childhood Bereavement Network has created a dedicated website to help parents prepare their own Plan If. 

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