Concerns have been raised that more than half of British adults with dependent children are yet to make a Will.
A survey conducted by Will Aid suggests that 53 per cent of mums and dads have failed to put their affairs in order.
Given that around 40,000 children lose a parent each year, this has led to renewed fears about the number of youngsters who could be left without guardianship.
The survey found a wide range of reasons for why people had yet to prepare a Will.
More than half of respondents said they hadn’t found the time, while a significant proportion felt they were too young to worry or conceded they didn’t like to think about death.
It also appears that many parents make the assumption that if they died intestate, courts would automatically grant custody to grandparents or other close relatives.
Peter de Vena Franks, campaign director for Will Aid, which organises an annual drive to encourage people to make proper provision, warned parents not to ignore the issue.
“If you die without appointing a guardian, and there is no other parent with parental responsibility, the court will decide who is appointed to look after your child,” he said.
“In some cases this can be a person neither related nor known to the child.
“Preparing a correctly worded Will with a solicitor is the only way to prevent this potentially distressing situation from occurring and yet so many parents are finding reasons not to get this important piece of paperwork done.”