It goes without saying that preparing a Will is crucial in ensuring your wishes are complied with when you die. However, any such Will is useless if no one knows where it is held.
In a recent survey conducted by the National Will Register “Certainty” 67% of people said they would not know where to find the Wills of their loved ones. There really is no point in preparing a Will if, in the event of your death, your loved ones simply cannot find it.
In an ever-changing world it is unwise to adopt the belief that your Will is safe because it is stored at a particular law firm and that on your death, this law firm will still be in operation, and your loved ones will be able to approach them and obtain a copy of your Will. You must keep in mind that law firms do merge with other firms, they do change their names and on occasion they do cease to trade completely. If such a situation arises, Wills are sometimes transferred to other law firms or other places for safe keeping and clients are not always notified. This means that when the time comes your Will cannot be found easily or, in some cases, at all.
This would then mean you are “intestate” and whatever the law happens to be when you die will decide the fate of your assets.
The same goes for Wills held by a Bank. Vaults full of unclaimed Wills have recently been found, with most of the people who made them sadly departed, and deemed to have had no Will.
Without registration, at an already fraught and difficult time for your loved ones, there is the risk that one or more of the below situations may occur:
- It may be assumed that you did not write a Will meaning that the wrong people benefit.
- Your loved ones may miss out on receiving what you would like them to receive.
- The Courts may have to be instructed to decide who receives what from your estate.
- A previous Will may be deemed as your final wishes and
- Family disputes may occur.
That is why at Cheyney Goulding we register all our Wills with a National database so that, when the time comes, anybody searching for the Will of one our clients will be able to establish where it is and when it was made. This massively increases the likelihood of the Will being used and the person’s last wishes being carried out correctly. When it comes to Probate, we want to make it as pain free as possible to carry out a loved one’s final wishes and this all starts by ensuring the correct Will is being used.
If you would like to know more about the registration of Wills with the national database or would just like to have a conversation with us about updating or drafting a Will, please do not hesitate to contact Christopher Seddon, who is the head of our Private Client Team, or Jo Purse, one of our Private Client Solicitors, for guidance and an initial free telephone consultation.
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