Each year millions of Wills and important legal documents are lost, costing families millions of £s and resulting in unnecessary family crisis and disputes.
If you have gone to all the time and trouble to make your Will, you may think you’ve got everything covered. However, your family (or executor) still need to be able to find the Will when the time comes. If they can’t find your Will, it’s the same as not having one. The rules of intestacy will apply.
Making a Will allows you to choose exactly what you want to leave and who you are leaving it to. You can include friends, partners, step-children, other family members or charities, who would otherwise receive nothing. A Will can also be made to exclude a family member who you don’t wish to inherit, or to reduce what they get.
There are many families where not everyone gets on well. I’m sure we all know of at least one. Even if you think everyone gets on ok now, sometimes death and money can cause extra arguments and disputes.
CASE STUDY – Vera
In 2020, Vera was in her early 80’s and died suddenly. She was not married and had no children or close family. In 2006 she made a will with solicitors. She named them as executors. She left various gifts and her remaining estate to benefit her friends and the charities she supported. When she died, her friend found paperwork at her house with a copy of the will. The solicitor’s had ceased trading and could not be contacted. There was no record of where the will was kept. It was not listed on the national will registry. Despite much searching and investigation, the original, signed will could not be found. When this happens, the friends and charity that Vera wanted to leave her estate to will no longer receive anything, and it’s up to some remote family members who Vera had no connection with deal with matters and then inherit everything between them. This was exactly what she did not want to happen and the reason why she made her will in the first place.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Can you simply store your own Will at home? Yes.
• What happens if the Will is lost or damaged?
• Perhaps you move house and important documents go astray?
• What if you hide your Will in a secure place and your executors don’t know where to find it?
• What if it’s in a safe that no-one can get into?
• What happens if there are disgruntled family members who are not happy to be excluded or receive a reduced amount? (they could remove or destroy the Will)
• What if your previous solicitor kept your Will and has now closed or moved?
• What if there is a house fire or flood?
Have you considered secure storage?
APS Legal can arrange a secure off-site storage facility for your Wills for a small annual fee.
Your Will documents are stored in a tamper-proof envelope with all your details on, which is heat sealed and stored in fire and waterproof storage cabinets locked behind a fireproof door. You can also include other important legal documents such as Property Title Deeds, Life Policies or Lasting Power of Attorneys. You and your executors are provided with certificates showing details of how to retrieve it.
Details of the place of storage is also entered on the national will register, so that your Will can be easily found and retrieved from the secure storage vault by the executors.
For more information contact JENNY FOTHERGILL