Ensuring the integrity and accessibility of your last wishes by securely storing your Will is of critical importance. This guide offers an analysis of different storage options, providing insights to help you make an informed decision.
As we examine each option, we’ll explore the complexities to ensure your Will is not only securely stored but also easily accessible to your designated Executors.
Option 1: Storing with a Bank
- Many financial institutions provide secure Will storage services, typically at a reasonable cost. However, understanding the bank’s policy on retrieving a Will after death is paramount.
- Some banks may require your Executors to produce a valid death certificate and proper identification before releasing the Will.
- It is crucial to emphasise that storing your Will in a bank safety deposit box is not advisable. Banks are unable to open a safety deposit box until Probate is granted, and Probate itself cannot be granted without access to the Will. In essence, it is imperative to ensure that your Executors can access your Will without the need for a Probate grant beforehand.
Option 2: Storing at Home
- While keeping your Will within arm’s reach at home might seem convenient, it introduces its own set of risks. Potential hazards like fire, floods, dampness, mould, or accidental spillages pose threats to the physical integrity of your document.
- Beyond physical threats, the legal implications of storing your Will at home should not be underestimated. Damaged or compromised documents may be deemed invalid by the courts, leading to unintended consequences. If you choose this route, exercise extreme caution by refraining from attaching anything to the Will, as alterations could raise questions about its validity.
Option 3: Storing with the Probate Service
- The Probate Service of England & Wales offers an official storage service, providing a centralised and regulated repository for Wills. While this option ensures a standardised approach to document preservation, it introduces considerations regarding the process of retrieval.
- Unlike private storage solutions, the retrieval of your Will while you are still alive requires your personal submission of the appropriate form. This additional step emphasises the need for proactive management of your documents during your lifetime.
Option 4: Storing with a Solicitor
- Entrusting your Will to a solicitor is a common practice, often perceived as a secure and professional solution. Solicitors may offer storage services at a nominal cost, positioning themselves as a reliable partner in the Estate Planning process. However, it’s essential to be aware of potential commercial interests at play.
- If you keep your Will with a solicitor, they might offer to be the Executor. Be aware that if you agree, they’ll likely charge a percentage of your estate, which can be costly. However, you can decide whether to accept or decline such offers, stressing the importance of making well-informed decisions.
Option 4: National Will Register
- Opting for the National Will Register provides a centralised storage solution backed by a reputable organisation. This service typically involves a fee for the secure storage of your Will in a waterproof wallet within specialised facilities.
- While offering a standardised and regulated approach, it is essential to weigh the cost against the perceived benefits and your specific needs.
Option 5: ELM Legal Services
- Choosing a professional Will writing company, such as ELM Legal Services, offers a comprehensive storage solution with added benefits. Our Storage & Update service involves storing your Will in a fireproof safe for a manageable monthly subscription fee.
- This service includes unlimited updates to your Will at no extra cost, catering to life events that may necessitate revisions. This subscription-based model provides ongoing peace of mind, ensuring your Will remains reflective of your current circumstances. For further information on this service, please visit our Storage & Update page.
- Risk Mitigation: Beyond the choice of storage, a comprehensive risk assessment involves evaluating potential risks associated with each option. This includes environmental threats, legal implications, and ease of document retrieval.
- Legal Validity: Emphasising the importance of the original, physically signed Will as the sole document with legal validity. Copies, scans, or digital versions, while convenient, lack the legal standing afforded to the original.
- Exploring Legal Dimensions: The legal landscape surrounding Will storage is multifaceted. The choice of storage location can influence the ease and timeliness of Probate proceedings. Access to the Will is critical for the Executor, as delayed access may impede the execution of your intentions.
- Consulting with a Specialist: To navigate this intricate landscape effectively, seeking guidance from a specialist Wills & Probate professional is highly recommended. Our team can provide personalised advice tailored to your specific circumstances. Whether you have questions about the legal implications of certain storage options or seek insights into potential risks, our specialists are equipped to guide you through the complexities of Estate Planning.
Where Should I Store My Will?
Secure storage of your Will involves an evaluation of options, considering security, accessibility, and legal implications. Each option presents its own set of advantages and challenges, and the choice depends on your unique circumstances and preferences. By delving into the details of each option, we aim to empower you to make an informed decision that aligns with your goals for Estate Planning.
For personalised guidance and a thorough exploration of your specific circumstances, we invite you to contact us at 0117 952 0698 or simply click Contact Us. Our team is dedicated to providing expert assistance, ensuring that your Will storage decision is not only secure but seamlessly integrated into your overall Estate Planning strategy. If you would like to book a free initial meeting, you can visit our Online Wills service page.