Estate planning puts children first

Estate planning puts children first

Figures compiled by the Childhood Bereavement Network from the latest available research data, claims that 1 in 20 children will have experienced the death of one or both of their parents by the age of 16. In 2015, 23,600 parents died in the UK, equating to one parent passing away every 22 minutes. Child Bereavement UK claims that 1 in 29 5-16-years-olds has been bereaved of a parent or sibling – that’s a child in every average class.

A natural part of parenthood is the instinct to protect your children, and for many, becoming a parent, whether biologically or by gaining parental responsibility, is a major life trigger for making a Will. However, a survey carried out by Will Aid revealed that 48% of parents with children under the age of 18 do not have a Will in place. What may spur clients on to make a Will to ensure that guardianship arrangements for their children are in place, is knowledge of what would happen if they died leaving no-one with parental responsibility. People often wrongly assume that the people closest to them would be the automatic guardians and would just “take over” if the worst happened. This, sadly, is not necessarily the case. If no formal guardianship arrangements have been made, it will be for the Court to decide who to appoint as the legal guardian for the child/children, and this may not be who the parent would have chosen for themselves. And in the worst-case scenario, the child/children could be placed in foster care while the Court process took place, adding additional stress at an already traumatic time.

So, if there is only one parent with parental responsibility (because the other parent has already died or has never had parental responsibility), the need to appoint a guardian in a Will is very clear. What may not be so clear is that the need to appoint a guardian is just as pressing in circumstances where to all intents and purposes, a child has two parents but one has not formally obtained parental responsibility – for example, where a couple is unmarried or where the person acting as the child’s father is a new partner (regardless of how long they have been on the scene) and no formal steps have been taken to obtain parental responsibility.

And whilst it may be very difficult for clients to think about such circumstances, there is still the sad possibility that parents could also pass away at the same time. This will almost certainly be the most traumatic event in their children’s lives and so it is essential that parents put in place arrangements that will guarantee certain, immediate and appropriate care for their children so that they get the best possible support.

Arken Professional’s Expression of Wishes to Guardians Document

While’s cloud-based Will drafting software – Arken Professional – easily enables these provisions to be set out within a Will, there are always the more private details that parents might like to express directly to those intended to look after their children, should the unimaginable happen.

Once a Will has gone through probate, it becomes a document of public record. Parents’ wishes for their children such as what school they would like them to go to, their preferred religious upbringing, which sports teams they would like them to play for, etc, becomes publicly searchable and it therefore might not be appropriate to include such details in the Will.

Arken Professional’s Expression of Wishes to Guardians document, which is available as part of every Arken Professional subscription, solves this issue. This document was created by Arken’s in-house legal and technology experts, who are also parents and understand the concerns and preferences of those looking to establish guardianship guidelines in relation to the care of their children. For example, the number of hours to ideally spend on homework, allergies to flag, preferred schools, teams, religion, screen time – even how many green vegetables they should include in their diet! – Important, personal information that guardians might not otherwise be aware of, and which legal parents might not wish to be shared publicly.

How It Works

The Expression of Wishes to Guardians document is a modern product that is unique to Arken Professional. It offers a series of non-compulsory menus covering various areas of a child’s upbringing – these in turn have a menu of sample customisable statements, which come into the document at the click of a button. There is significant room to customise statements, while still offering enough information to prompt and lead users through the process, including freetype areas for anything not already covered. It can be used in respect of one or all of a testator’s children, offering the opportunity to add statements of thanks to guardians and of love and affection to children.

Efficiency Benefits for Arken Users

The Expression of Wishes to Guardians document is available to all Arken Professional users as standard. Re-keying is reduced by bringing across details form the Will and Client Manager – helping the drafter swiftly secure their client’s more personal wishes in regards to the finer, more private details of guardianship.

A recorded webinar demonstration is available to Arken Professional users within their Arken account. New to Book a remote demonstration at a time that suits you, to see our business efficiency tools in action.

For more information:
[email protected]
01732 867792

This article was submitted to be published by as part of their advertising agreement with Today’s Wills & Probate. The views expressed in this article are those of the submitter and not those of Today’s Wills & Probate.





Transforming the global estate planning industry through advanced technology provides expert digital solutions for the private client and estate planning industry. Its solutions deliver business efficiencies and consistency across a practice, while enabling client acquisition through an improved customer experience.

Built by private client solicitors, products are used by more than 500 firms including Legal practices, Accountancy practices, Will writers and Legal services businesses in the UK, as well as Trust companies in South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

With 29 years' experience and more than 6 million Wills having been created using its products, today is a software as a service business offering secure, cloud-based solutions.

The Arken Product Suite

Businesses are turning to technology to enable change, increase efficiency and futureproof their incomes to suit upcoming generations and demand. The Arken product suite is designed for just this – to maximise productivity, provide interactivity and lead generation, and manage risk. It can suit any business process – whether instructions are taken virtually, in an office, remotely or via telephone. For increased efficiency, reduced re-keying and a delighted client, book a demonstration today to find out how we can help your practice.

Key Services

Arken Professional: A comprehensive, up-to-date and secure document generation solution built specifically for the Private Client Sector. Built by lawyers, its industry-leading software has produced over 6 million Wills. Arken Professional is the only software solution specialising in Wills that is accredited by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales (ICAEW). All the products on this scheme have satisfied a robust technical evaluation and are from companies that are financially sound and offer strong customer support, giving you that extra peace of mind.

Arken Intestacy: The new way to increase leads and grow your business remotely.  A handy customisable tool for your website that demonstrates the circumstances if your prospective client were to die without a Will – they can then fill in their details and ask for you to help protect their estate.

Arken Online Wills: A secure, online Will service. Will packs – which include a client’s Will, a Will commentary, and signing instructions – can be sent to the client immediately or reviewed before delivery.

Arken Acquire: A digital fact find and lead generation tool. A tool that captures data from your clients, which is then used in the drafting of key estate planning documents. Simply email a link to your client and they can input key information that seamlessly flows into Arken Professional for drafting.

Arken Lifetime: Create Inter Vivos Trusts in a fraction of the time.

Trust Referencer: Get the latest on tax treatments and specific Trusts. Access the most up-to-date information to generate a personalised report for your clients, outlining the tax treatment that are relevant to both Testamentary and Inter Vivos Trusts.

Arken Anywhere: The power of Arken on-the-move. Access an offline version of Arken Professional that will synchronise with your account once you’re back online.

Arken API: A seamless transfer of data and reduction of re-keying. Details shared between your case management solution and Arken Professional.




Dave Newick, Chief Executive Officer of, said:

“We work in partnership with our clients to understand their key processes and provide the most efficient digital solutions for their Private Client business. The industry has begun its digitisation journey – it’s time to consider the best route within it for your business. Can you use technology to be more adaptable, more engaged, to provide a better customer experience? Can you use technology to automate low-level tasks, enabling you to focus on what really matters? It’s time to take the digital leap and benefit from the efficiencies it provides.”







Sophie Yates, Director, Fodens Solicitors Limited

“Arken is an absolutely fantastic tool. It is extremely easy to use and has helped our practices in Will drafting to a huge extent. I could not be without it now. I would recommend to any legal specialist looking to invest in Will writing software. Very cost effective too.”

Gemma Garen, Director of Quality and Compliance, Ellisons Solicitors

“We did a careful review of available solutions and chose Arken, as it has a very user-friendly and intuitive user experience, helped us with an improvement in our working practices, introduced time efficiencies and facilitated our ability to standardise our processes and mitigate our risks. The support team at Arken are excellent – very responsive and invested time to understand our needs. We had extensive support before and after going live. Arken is very easy to use, the templates are consistent and we have reliable support.”

Craig Webb, Head of Legal Operations, Brethertons LLP

“…Our staff have found Will drafting in Arken very easy to use and enjoy the questionnaire format which guides them through the process from beginning to end. It is very reassuring to know that our lawyers are all following the same process, producing Wills with a good level of consistency and that all clauses used are up to date. Preparing ‘mirror’ Wills is now particularly easy using Arken, and the systems’ intelligence to amend third person singular pronouns (he, she, his, hers), has eradicated these type of typographical mistakes. We have recently added Arken Acquire to our subscription and are looking forward to the further streamlining of our processes that this service can offer.”

Matthew Field, Director, SMR Solicitors

“We have found Arken to be a valuable tool for our private client team in terms of efficiency and consistency and we would highly recommend it to law firms looking for a professional solution.”

Eric Britt, Executive Consultant, Integrity Wills & Legal Services

"I have been using Arken Will writing software for a number of years, and have found it excellent, and easy to use. The support from the office has been exceptional whenever I have needed it, with a quick response and great patience at times. I would certainly recommend the software and also the company without any hesitation."

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Key Contact

Name: Bethany Crease
Tel: (0)1732 867792 sponsors Today’s Wills and Probate Industry Champion Award