When you write a will it can often be years – even decades – before it needs to be accessed, and if for any reason the original will cannot be found it is sometimes presumed to have been destroyed. When this happens it can be costly and time-consuming for loved ones to try to rectify the situation, causing them a lot of unnecessary stress. Therefore, keeping your will in a safe place and informing your executor of its whereabouts is critical.
Where shouldn’t you store your will?
As some of the most secure environments, it can be tempting to keep your will in the safety deposit box of your bank. However, this is not a good idea as some banks do not allow access to the box until the executor of the will is granted probate, and this can’t be given without the will. It is therefore important to ensure that the will is in a secure environment that does not require probate to be accessed.
Others think that they should keep hold of the will themselves. Whilst this can be a popular option, it is also risky as the will could easily be accidentally damaged or thrown away when clearing out papers. It is also at the risk of other household dangers that cannot be foreseen such as fire or flooding. If you choose to take this option, you should inform your executor of its specific whereabouts and make sure that it’s not moved from this location.
So, where exactly does that leave your will? Well, you could lodge it with the Probate Service (England and Wales), who will store it for you at a flat fee. However, if you decide you want to review your will and make changes you – and only you – have to make an ‘official request’ to retrieve it. You could not, for example, ask your solicitor or a loved one to get it for you.
A safe place for wills at Giles Wilson
The best option therefore is to leave your will with a solicitor. When you choose to leave your will at Giles Wilson, all of your details and data will be locked away as they would be in a high street bank but are accessible by our solicitors if you choose to make changes or when your executor requires probate. When you instruct one of our professionals at Giles Wilson to write your will, we will store it at our HQ on London Road in Leigh-on-Sea.
Built during the 1930s, the Giles Wilson building is a former Barclays Bank and was chosen for its exceptional storage capabilities. The ground floor of our office includes a lead-lined vault, complete with the bank’s original security door. Though its days of money storage have long since passed, it now holds arguably more valuable goods in the form of our clients’ legal documentation, including wills and power of attorney.
Furthermore, since aiding in the closure of Francis, Thatcher & Co. and handling the archiving of their clients’ wills and legal documentation, we have opened up our 2nd vault in the building’s basement. The total number of wills entrusted to our care is now in excess of 4,500.
To add a further level of security to our clients’ wills, we have recently devised and implemented a CRM system to make use of advances in technology. Every will in our care is scanned into our cloud-based security system so that copies are readily available in the event of disaster. This system also allows us to establish quickly whether we hold the will of someone and the date of the will. However, it is still important that the original is stored safely as this should be produced to the probate registry when making an application for probate.
If you would like to find a more secure place to store your will, or if you find that your current solicitor is closing its doors and the home of your will is called into question, you can arrange to collect your will from its existing location and store it at Giles Wilson’s secure facility free of charge. We also offer a professional will review service to ensure that everything is up to date and as it should be.
If you are seeking a safe place to store an existing will or would like to instruct one of our solicitors to write one for you, please get in touch with us on 01702 477106 to arrange a free 30-minute consultation. Keep up to date with all the latest news from Giles Wilson on Facebook and Twitter.