This is a question I often get asked, after I’ve written someone’s Will.
Your Will is one of the most important documents you will ever make and if you store your Will at home you are taking a real risk. You’ve written a Will to protect your family, your assets and to ensure you are no considered to have died intestate (i.e. not having written a Will) so why take the risk of it being lost, damaged by flood, fire or pests, having it stolen or defaced maliciously. Sounds extreme? Well it’s not. Even a simple marking of the Will, even that made by a paper clip can draw its validity into question. The majority of Wills that are destroyed or damaged at home are done so at the hands of the owner whether or not through a simple accident, but it happens with surprising frequency. So don’t store it at home!
If you decide to store your Will at home, really need a fireproof safe and yes, it really is that important . You will need to advise your home and contents provider of this and the likelihood is that your premiums will rise. You would need to ensure others can access the safe and that they are aware that your Will is stored there. This may not be the obvious place to look at a time of grief when they have found your source of important papers and not found your Will among them.
Banks no longer seem to offer storage facilities for Wills, which means you’d need to rent a safe deposit box. If you decide on that option, you need to find out how the bank will control the box after your death. Some banks will not allow anyone except a court-appointed administrator to open the box to retrieve the Will. This policy may cause difficulty and delay in settling your Estate. Other banks allow a family member to remove the Will in the presence of bank officials. Whatever their protocol you should make sure the Executor named in your will has access to your safe deposit box after your death. Banks will make a charge for any storage facility and these charges will escalate over time.
Only the original Will, in a pristine condition will enable probate to take place so that the assets can be distributed in accordance with the wishes of the person who wrote the Will. A copy of the Will, will not do, it has to be the original, which is why it is so important to look after the original signed and witnessed Will.
So why not take advantage of our secure Will storage facility. We will take ownership and FULL responsibility for the lifetime storage of your Will and other documents you entrust to us for less than a cup of coffee a month, a charge that remains the same for the duration your Will is stored with us.
Once checked over to ensure it has been properly signed and witnessed, your Will is then deposited in our secure facility which has the following safety features:
- Protection against fire, flooding & water damage
- 24 Hour CCTV Monitoring
- Secure perimeter fencing & electronic access gates
In addition your Will is registered on “The National Will Register” a UK wide database used to record the location of Wills, free of charge (usually £30 per Will). This is the first place that a legal professional should check if the executors are unable to locate the original document themselves.