You’ve finally made (or updated) your will, but where are you going to keep it?

Storage of wills is REALLY important. Executors/family must be able to find the will when someone dies. It’s important to make sure it has not been damaged or lost.

A signed will is an important legal document and only the original, signed version can be used for the estate administration (probate).

It’s a bit like if you lose your passport, you are not going to be able to travel abroad without bringing your original passport to passport control. You can’t just turn up with a photocopy, or tell them that you definitely have one but you can’t find it!

When someone dies, the family/executors need to be able to find the signed will to be able to deal with matters. If it’s lost, or no-one knows where to find the will, then it’s the same as not having one.

Does it have to be storage at a solicitor’s office or at the bank?

No. There is no requirement for this. Sometimes, family are unable to retrieve the will from a solicitor or bank, without the solicitor or bank acting as executors. That may be expensive (and un-wanted). Sometimes, the offices where wills are held may close or merge or documents go missing. How can you be sure your will is still available when needed?

Where is the safest place to keep your will?

You have 3 main choices:

  1. Keep the original wills at your own home. If they can be kept securely where executors can access them, that’s fine. If you keep them in a safe, make sure the executors can have access to this!
  2. Ask your executors (or someone else you trust) where you know they will be kept securely, so they are not kept in your own home.
  3. Send wills to our recommended* secure storage facility. You get certificates with a reference number for the wills. Only the will maker can retrieve their own will. Upon death, the executors can retrieve the wills (by producing a death certificate). The wills are also registered online on the National Will Registry to confirm where they are kept (in case the storage certificates & ref numbers cannot be found). The cost for this storage is £35 for 2 wills (house deeds and Powers of Attorney can also be included).

*APS Legal do not store the wills in our own office. We use the trusted document storage company, Iron Mountain, who offer an offsite facility which is completely secure, offering protection against the risk of fire, flood or other environmental factors. All documents stored with Iron Mountain are insured against the risk of loss or damage.

When APS Legal provide wills for signing, we do also provide copies for you to keep at home. These are not legal documents, but are for information and as a record only. You can provide copies to your executors if you wish, or you can keep the information private until it’s needed. (You may wish to update and change your will in the future). APS Legal keep electronic copies so wills can be easily updated or reproduced in the future, if required.

What if APS Legal have not prepared and produced your wills?

That’s ok. We are still happy to arrange secure storage for your existing wills.


For more information contact Jenny Fothergill at APS Legal Beverley.