Taking care of your Will
Your Will is an extremely important document and one of the most important documents you will ever have to write. With this in mind about 70% of people in Britain die without one. This is due to not making one that is valid or simply not making one at all. This is a slightly concerning statistic as a Will is your legal declaration of what belongings you want to distribute and to whom, including any funeral preferences, for example. Without it your loved ones will not receive the possessions you want them to inherit, or if they do, the procedure of doing so can be rather time-consuming and costly, which is not ideal when they are grieving after your loss.
By taking a glance at the vast information we have provided on Wills you will discover their importance and how to go about creating your own. However, all of the effort you have put into it and going through all of the necessary procedures could count for nothing if you do not store your Will in a safe place. If the storage of your Will is a subject you don’t know much about or you simply planned on storing your Will at home for example, then read on.
It is advised that you never keep your original Will at home. If you were to be burgled or suffered a house fire for example, you would no longer have a Will. It may also get damaged and if there are any doubts as to the contents of it the court would deem it invalid. Another factor to consider is that not only is it safe but is it in an easily accessible place so that it can be quickly located when it is needed. If you kept it in a safe box for example, the people trying to locate it may not be able to unlock it.
Where to keep your will
It should be safe and off your own premises. The most suitable places to store your Will include: with your bank, with a solicitor, at a storage facility dedicated for Wills or at the Principal Probate Registry.
Your bank should offer you a secure storage facility. As secure as it may be it can be fairly time-consuming for someone to access it. If you own more than one account you should also inform the executor exactly where it is formed to avoid confusion. There is a fee for storing your Will at the bank, however it is small — around £10 - £25 a year.
This is most appropriate if you choose your solicitor to be the executor. They will offer storage that can even be fireproof. One downside to this option is that a solicitor can move offices or even stop trading, which can make it difficult to locate. Solicitors also charge a fee which will vary depending on the solicitor but should remain a small sum.
There are numerous private companies devoted to storing Wills which offer you insured secure facilities. These facilities are often regarded as very reliable and secure. The fees will depend on the subscription you choose and are most often charged annually. This also allows your Will to be updated at no extra charge.
Principal Probate Registry
This entails storing your Will with the High Court. The Probate Service is part of the Family Division of the High Court and deals with the ‘non-contentious’ probate business. This is where there is no dispute about the validity of the Will or entitlement to take a grant. If you choose to store your Will here and alter it/ make a new one and don’t tell them, your executors will face problems because they will need the original Will as a copy will not suffice.
Although it is only your original Will that would be valid, it is always sensible to keep copies. In this case you can always ask the company that wrote your Will for these. Storing copies of your Will is also common and often done through a solicitor. Additional fees may occur but will not amount to a significant sum. An alternative method to storage is to store it electronically. The UK Will Registry Office will allow you to store an electronic copy on their secure database and fees may be charged if you decide to make any alterations to your Will.
So there are many factors to consider when storing your Will and when you decide it is vital that you let your executor know where exactly you have stored it.
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