Although they are such an important document, wills can very easily become lost. They might be discarded with a load of old papers because the owner doesn’t realise they are there, or they might be filed away in a ‘safe’ place that only the testator knows about, thus making it difficult for anyone else to find it after their death. Or it could lost for any number of other reasons. The point is, if it cannot be found there are going to be problems when it comes to obtaining probate and sharing out the estate.
The best advice is to register the Will with an organisation such asWillFinda, keep the original will (and any other important documents you may have) with a specialist company who deal with Probate and then to keep a copy of the original in a fireproof, lockable box in your home. Let other people know that that is where the will is, and make sure you take it with you if you were to move at any point. Unfortunately, wills go missing all the time, and it is really one of the executor’s duties to find them again. However, if not registered with WillFinda, they can still assist and carry out a missing will search in addition all family members should search for the will as it will make it more likely to be found.
Where should they start looking? There are some places that should always be checked as they are good hiding places for documents such as wills, and you may find that you are lucky and come across it right away.
Start with any filing cabinets or desks and the drawers within them. These are great places to store important documents because they are able to be closed and everything within them is kept safe. On top of that, this is often a workspace, so documents could well be kept there for a long time.
If the will itself is not there but you find a card or other information regarding a will writer or a solicitor, you might have also found a clue to the whereabouts of the lost will. It is worth phoning the number on the card to see if they are keeping the will for your deceased friend or relative. This can often be the case, with the testator not realising that they need to let other people know about who actually has the will because they feel it is somewhere safe enough.
Checking with the bank is another good idea, as this is another place where wills can be stored for the long term, although not very practical. However, as with the solicitor idea, if no one is aware that that is where they are, they won’t necessarily be found. Although storing your will with a bank seems like a good idea, in reality banks keep moving around, they can be lost and in addition after death we have known it very difficult for banks to want to open the contents of storage boxes until probate has been granted, but of course probate cannot be granted until the Will if found. Ask us about our Will storage and registration services.
31st May 2018 by Braintree Wills