Do you know where your will is?

Date Published: 20/01/2020 15:13

Do you know where your will is stored? Even more importantly, do your nearest and dearest?

It seems many of us don’t actually know where that important document is, and even if we do, we have probably not told those that need to know.

Recently Lloyds Banking Group discovered that 9,000 wills had been left in storage and not passed on to customers. The bank is now desperately trying to match envelopes with the relevant families.  

The wills were kept in the bank’s ‘Safe Custody’ service – ironic given that it proved to be too safe, with no one knowing about the wills’ existence! The service closed in 2011, but some families have been left having to re-examine old estates years after they were thought to have been settled. Mistakes like this could lead to the last wishes of loved ones not being honoured. 

The bank says it was only in a small percentage of cases that were affected and 90 per cent of the newly discovered wills had been superseded by a later will or there were copies of the will elsewhere.

So, what lessons can be learned from what happened at Lloyds? I recommend that you always register a will. You can register a will with the Probate Service for a one-off fee of £20, but it is often better to use a solicitor, who will be specialised in making and storing wills.

The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners advises against safety deposit boxes for wills as it means the executor cannot get access until they get probate and this cannot be granted without a will, so it becomes a bit of a Catch 22 situation.  

If you do have a will stored in a safety deposit box, consider moving it elsewhere to ensure it is accessible. Make sure your executors know where it is. Many of us don’t want to think about the consequences if the death of a loved one – it seems to be a taboo subject – but having those conversations now could save a lot of stress and worry at a difficult time later.

If you’re looking for advice and support on making a will, or dealing with a loved one’s inheritance, contact us to find out how we could help you.

No individual investment advice is given, nor intended to be given in this article and liability will be accepted in respect of any action you may take as a result of reading this article. If you are unsure you are urged to take independent investment advice.

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