As a Wills and Probate Solicitor, we are always advising people to make Wills to ensure that your estate passes to your loved ones, friends and charities in accordance with your wishes. If you do not have a Will in place your estate will pass to your next of kin under the rules of intestacy and this may not take effect as you would expect or it could pass to remote family members that you have little or no contact with.
In addition, therefore, to having your Will in place it is important to know where it is and that it is up to date and still reflects your wishes. It is also important that your nearest family members/executors either know where the Will is or to ensure that it can easily be located in the event of your death.
We are always surprised by the number of clients who say they have moved and their previous solicitors (or the business that made their Will) hold their Will and that as the family have now grown up or their circumstances have changed, the Will is out of date. The fact is that unless you obtain that original Will and destroy it, or take steps to revoke it in a new Will or codicil, it remains a valid Will. If you have moved on, or your former solicitors or the firm that made the Will, have merged or no longer practice, we strongly advise you to consider your existing arrangements to ensure that the Will is still relevant and can be located.
At Hegarty, we offer to retain our client’s Wills in our securities as part of our standard Will making service and without on-going charges. We also register them on the Certainty Will Register, which is a national register, and records that your Will is stored with us. If in the event of your death your executors or next of kin cannot find your Will, a search of the Register will show it is stored with this firm. The record simply shows where the Will is stored and does not contain information about the contents, which remain confidential.
This simple service ensures that your Will can always be located and your wishes, therefore, put into effect. We shall only then release the Will either to you, if you wish to remove it during your lifetime, or to your executors on your death. We also then request sight of an original death certificate and forms of identification from the executors before doing so.
If you are new to the area or would like to move to a local firm, we are able to accept storage of your existing Will, check it complies with the requirements of the Wills Act 1837 and register it on the Certainty Will Register for a fee for a single will or for a couple. If any revisions or alterations are required we can provide a separate quotation for any further work needed to bring the Will up to date or for a new Will, if required.