Most parents have not made adequate plans to support their children and family if they were to die unexpectedly.
Three-quarters of parents of young children do not have an up to date will and half have no definite plans in place regarding the guardianship of their children should both parents die, according to a survey by the Childhood Bereavement Network (CBN).
CBN estimates that every year in the UK, 23,600 parents of dependent children die - that's a parent of young children dying every 22 minutes.
"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," said Alison Penny, Coordinator of the Childhood Bereavement Network.
"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."
When asked why they had not yet made plans for their children's care following their death, parents blamed a lack of information, busy lives and a reluctance to think about death.
The survey also found that only one in six parents have written a letter to their children to be read after their death. Over half of those parents said they simply hadn't thought about writing a letter to their child, and a further one in five said they found it too upsetting to even think about.
CBN has launched the Plan If campaign to encourage all parents to put in place the practical and personal things that would make a difference to their families if they were to die while their children were still young.
The Plan If campaign has already received high profile support from Caitlin Moran and Professor Tanya Byron.
Awful, but - do you have children? Have you planned what would happen if you suddenly died? http://t.co/aEWGg4kNam #planif
- Caitlin Moran (@caitlinmoran) October 7, 2014
Visit the Plan If website for support and advice on making your own 'Plan If', including making 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.
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