Why You Should Use Professional Will Storage

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Many documents these days come in multiple, certified copies that can be provided as evidence of the document’s authority. This is not the case with your will though as in the case of wills, the original document that must be produced for probate (except for some exceptional circumstances).

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

The Importance of Protecting Your Will

So, why is protecting your will so important?

Your Last Will and Testament is as it says on the tin, contains 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 in a totally different way to how you wanted.

As mentioned, there are a number of risks when it comes to storing your will at home including:

·        Destruction by fire

·        Destruction by flooding

·        Malicious damage

·        Loss/theft of the Will

·        Accidental damage.

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 it with the intention to revoke it. This presumption can be refuted by family members, 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.

Benefits of Using Professional Storage for Your Will

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.

Will writers, like Swansea Legal Solutions who are a member of the Society of Will Writers, offer huge benefits through partnership with the National Will Archive (NWA) 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 NWA 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.

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

If you’re looking for a professional company to write and store your will, look no further, as our specialist team can help. Call us today on 01792 420844 to make your appointment today.