Storing your will
It’s often said that the person who benefits most from your will is the one who finds it first.
Although this is commonly said in jest, there is some truth in it. If a will is found by an unscrupulous person, they might “accidentally” lose it if it’s unfavourable to them.
If there’s no will, and a verified copy can’t be found, the rules of intestacy apply. In this case, the estate is inherited in a strict order, from spouse/civil partner to children and other blood relatives. Under these rules, so-called “common law” partners aren’t recognised.
Keeping your will safe is the best way of avoiding such problems later. So what’s the best way of storing it?
If you’re going to keep your will at home, make sure it’s securely locked in a safe. Remember that a will is a private document until you die, when it becomes public. You may have compelling reasons for keeping it private until then especially if the distribution to family members is unequal.
In addition, be sure to use a fireproof safe to avoid it being destroyed by accident.
Fire isn’t the only way a will could be destroyed if it’s kept at home – it might get thrown away by mistake, damaged by water or simply lost.
If a will is lost, a copy might suffice for obtaining probate. This would require executors to submit a written statement to verify its accuracy. Even then, the Probate Registry may refuse to acknowledge the copy.
There is no national register of wills, so wherever you store it, it’s crucial that executors know where it is and how to access it.
It’s also a bad idea to store your will in a safety deposit box in a bank. Permission to access the deposit box wouldn\’t be permitted until probate has been granted, but executors would need the will to apply for probate – a catch-22 situation!
That’s why Maplebrook Wills provides secure storage of wills for a small annual fee. This service also comes with free telephone advice on any questions you might have on probate.
To speak to a Maplebrook Wills legacy planner in your area, call 0117 440 1555.