Storing a last will and testament

Storing your will

The original versions of legal documents, such as Wills and Powers of Attorney are the only legally binding versions. Scans, photocopies and computer records are not legally valid because they don’t have your original signature on them. That’s why it’s essential that you store your will safely. It is also essential that your will should be easily found once it is needed.

DO NOT STORE YOUR WILL IN A BANK SAFETY DEPOSIT BOX. Probate can’t be granted without the original will and the box can’t be opened until Probate is granted.

You can store the document nearly anywhere, but we recommend the storage service offered by the National Will Safe. When you store your will with them, you can access it whenever you need, and replace the document for no extra charge if you make a new will.

While your documents are with National Will Safe they are fully insured against loss or damage. If anything happens to your documents, they will be recreated and replaced for you, free of charge. If your document is lost or damaged at the time it is needed, or its loss or damage only comes to light at the time it is needed then they are insured for up to £2million to compensate anyone who loses out or incurs costs as a result.

National Will Safe provide you with plastic identity cards for you and your Executors. They display your name, a unique storage reference number and our contact details.

How to store a last will and testament

Time needed: 5 minutes.

Making a will is a very important step.  However, a will is only useful if it can be found when the time comes. There are all sorts of expensive and time-consuming cases that go through the courts when an original will can’t be found.  We want to make sure that your loved ones don’t end up in this situation.

  1. Print and execute the will

    Until you sign the will and get your signature witnessed it is doesn’t have any legal standing. Executing the will is simple but you have to be very careful to get it right. The previous page deals with how to execute a will.  Make sure you follow the instructions there carefully.

  2. Store the will

    You should store the will should somewhere safe, but easy to discover.  For example, you can place it with your important documents like your birth certificate and passport.  Alternatively you can use a service like the National Will Safe.  We have negotiated an arrangement so that all of our customers have access to the National Will Safe. Whatever you do: you should make sure that the will is safe from fire and flood and won’t get thrown out with the recycling, or lost in the next move.

  3. Don’t store your will in any of these places!

    Don’t fall afoul of any of the following traps.  If you make a mistake when storing your will it could mean that your will is never found.
    (a) Bank safety deposit box.  To get into a deceased person’s bank safety deposit box you need the official Grant of Probate.  You can’t et a Grant of Probate until you produce the original will.  You can see the problem here, right?
    (b) Ultra secure safe. If your executors don’t have a key or know the code, then they can’t get to your will.  If a safe is “unbreakable” then this could add lots of cost and delay to dealing with your estate.
    (c) Somewhere hard or impossible to find. If a will is in a pirate’s chest burried at the bottom of the garden and nobody knows: then it probably won’t be found.  Or, if it is found, it my be discovered too late for anything to be done about it.

  4. Tell executors

    However you decide to store your will: make sure you tell the executors.  If the executors don’t know what you’ve done with the will then it may never be found.  If you feel comfortable to do so: you can give the executors a copy of the will too so they’ll know what they’re looking for.  Make sure that all copies are clearly marked as “copy” so no confusion arises in future.

For your peace of mind

Every will is checked by a fully qualified UK solicitor.

We are members of the Society of Will Writers and follow their code of conduct.

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