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The Importance of Professional Will Storage

Mar 29, 2023 | Wills

Wills are rather interesting documents because they’re the kind that you realistically can only have one of, foreign wills aside. A lot of documents these days we are used to having certified copies that can be provided as evidence of the document’s authority, but Wills are special in this way in that it is the original document that must be produced for probate (apart from in some extenuating circumstances discussed later).

 

So, if you can only have one original Will, then how do you make sure you keep it safe for when you pass and your family or friends need to find it? You may think you can store it at home, maybe in your cupboard or folder that you keep all other important documents. While you are absolutely within your right to do so, you ought to be aware of the risks as the Will would be vulnerable to damage or destruction by flooding or fire, loss and even theft.

So, why is protecting the Will important?

Your Last Will and Testament is as it says on the proverbial tin, the very last wishes you get to express in this world making it an extremely important document to those you leave behind. If your Will can’t be located after your death then your estate may end up being distributed totally differently to how you wanted.

Can I store it with my other important documents at home?

You absolutely can do that, but it isn’t always the recommended means of protecting your Will. It is important to make sure that your Will is kept safe, but what are the risks really?

Well, here are a list of risks you could face when storing your Will yourself:

Destruction by fire
Destruction by flooding
Malicious damage
Loss/theft of the Will
Accidental damage

 

What actually happens if my Will is destroyed or lost?

If your Will is last known to be in your possession, but since your death nobody can find it, there is a presumption that you have destroyed your Will with the intention to revoke it. This presumption can be rebutted, but with great effort. This obviously isn’t ideal as your estate may end up not passing to your beneficiaries how you wished, or great stress may be placed on your family who are faced with the process of seeking permission to prove a copy of your Will.

A copy of a Will can’t automatically be admitted to probate, even if it is an exact 1-2-1 match as a scanned copy of the original signed document. A ‘wet-ink’ signature is required for your Will to be valid. If your Will is lost or accidentally destroyed, your executors can apply to prove the copy of your Will instead and submit that to the Probate Registrar along with affidavit evidence giving detail of the circumstances of the loss or destruction, what efforts have been made to locate the missing Will, and what evidence there is to disprove the presumption that the Will was revoked by the testator. It must also include details of anyone who will be prejudiced if the copy Will is proved.

The situation becomes more complex if no copy of the signed will is available. An in-depth discussion on this process is beyond the scope of this particular article however, so advice should be sought from a suitably qualified estate planner or probate practitioner if required.

What benefits does professional Will storage provide?

A professional Will storage company often offers more than just the physical housing of your Will. Many provide services that not only protect your Will, but services that make it easy for your executor to retrieve your Will while protecting your interests. For example, by only releasing the Will upon receipt of a copy of your death certificate and only once the executor proves their identity.

So let us assess the risks of home storage and how professional storage handles these problems:

1.Fire Prevention
2.Flood Prevention
3.Restricted access, only released to you or authorised persons
4. Secured building
5. Safely filed away for when either you or your executors require it.

Some storage providers provide even further services. We are partnered with The National Will Safe (NWS) where they check the validity of your Will to make sure it complies with legal requirements, produce scanned copies and keep digital records any time it is withdrawn or deposited to storage, as well as provide ID cards for those who are authorised to access the Will. The NWS also register all Wills entering their storage with The National Will Register making it easier for your family to locate your Will after your death. For more information on what the NWS do please get in touch.

Hopefully we have managed to illustrate to you the importance of professional Will storage and some of the risks you may face if you were to store your Will at home.

Here at MGF Legal Services, we receive many calls from the public who are hoping to locate the Will of their lost loved one, and we always hope that the Will is being properly stored so that we can help that family on the path to carrying out their loved one’s wishes.

Ultimately it is up to you how you wish to store your Will and the degree of risk you’re prepared to accept, so if you are curious to know more about storing your Will, please feel free to contact us to find out more.

Contact us

If you would like to speak to one of our expert lawyers, ring us on 01252 268862 or email us at marie@mgfwills.co.uk

Or, if you’d rather arrange a face to face appointment:

Hannah Dunmall
Hannah Dunmall
04/03/2021
Verified
I would highly recommend MGF. Marie guided us kindly and professionally from the first initial phone call to the final signing. She provided an un-pressured, user friendly service, that was very personal and efficient. We were very ignorant around the whole subject of wills and lasting powers of attorney, but Marie always made us feel that no question was a stupid one, and gave her time and attention to ensure we understood all that was involved. We have peace of mind now that we have everything in order, and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Marie.
Nicole Falleur
Nicole Falleur
26/02/2021
Verified
I found this lady's business on an online search for a local will writer / solicitor for my Mother & I to write our wills after having not so positive experiences with previous companies we'd tried & Mum preferred to relate to a lady & I found that she was in our area & the only 1 who had 100% 5* Star ratings from all her customers who'd left reviews ! So we contacted her & went from there ! :-) We could not have found or wished for anyone better ! She offers such a personal service & is so easy to communicate with & is very knowledgeable & goes "the extra mile", nothing seems too much trouble & despite being a very busy woman, she gives as many extra hours of her time as her clients need & she does it all at a set fee ! She does not charge extra add on, additional charges for every hour, phonecall, Zoom call, visit, paperwork she does for you, she keeps to the very competitive price she quoted at the outset, which we found most unusual & refreshingly nice & welcome & very much appreciated indeed, no hidden charges or fear of nasty, frightening financial surprises ! She is such a very lovely person, personable, natural & relaxed to deal with, competent & efficient, keeps her word & punctual, doesn't let you down. We couldn't find better & she truly exceeded our expectations & we will use her again as she offers multiple legal services as listed on her website. Thank you Marie !
Victoria Shortland
Victoria Shortland
26/02/2021
Verified
Fabulous service from MGF Wills and Estate Planning. Marie was very helpful and answered our many many questions very patiently! I felt that Marie really knows her stuff and is very reasonably priced. Highly recommended.
Mr Clive Wills
Mr Clive Wills
12/02/2021
Verified
My wife and I had Mirror Wills drawn up. Marie was very professional, friendly and excellent communication throughout. She talked us through all aspects of wills. A very straightforward process and job done promptly. Completed in a Covid safe way. We would definitely recommend MGF.
Lissy Evett
Lissy Evett
11/02/2021
Verified
My objective was to find a good and affordable Will writing service that could accommodate me in a timely manner. I found all of those things with Marie Forkner, from the MGF Wills & Estate Planning Service. Great customer service, professional, knowledgeable, and friendly. I highly recommend MGF Wills & Estate Planning Service. Excellent!
Kerry Davis
Kerry Davis
01/02/2021
Verified
Please do not hesitate in using MGF Wills. Excellent, knowledgeable service with unbiased advice and guidance. Look no further for your future planning needs. Highly recommended to anyone considering Will writing/storage etc. Wouldn’t hesitate recommending to friends and family A*.
Doug
Doug
24/01/2021
Verified
We would highly recommend MGF Wills. We had a will made last year. Marie was thorough, patient and willing to answer all our questions. There was no pressure put on us. Pricing was clear from the start. Highly recommended.
Carruthers Family
Carruthers Family
20/01/2021
Verified
Friendly advise & clear directions making completing our 1st Wills very straight forward. Have already recommended to a friend. It didn’t matter that it was all completed over the phone rather than face to face.
Mark C
Mark C
18/01/2021
Verified
Great service, competitively priced and quick turn around time. Marie explained everything clearly and was very knowledgeable. Would definitely recommend.
Mark Smith
Mark Smith
13/01/2021
Verified
Marie drew up the wills for my partner and I. She was professional and accommodating throughout the entire process. Everything was explained clearly and there was no such thing as a silly question. She even took the time to walk us through the signing process with our neighbours! We would thoroughly recommend Marie and will be using her in future if and when we need to update our wills.