If your last Will cannot be found after your death there is not much point in having written it in the first place. The signed Will is needed to obtain the grant of representation to enable your personal representatives to administer your estate after your death. If only a copy can be found the presumption is that you have revoked the last Will and made a new one or chosen to be bound by the intestacy provisions. Copy wills, where the signed original cannot be found, can be admitted to probate and proved, but this will require an additional application to the court which will increase the costs, whether or not a professional is employed to assist with the administration of the estate. Being organised and “dying tidily” will therefore save costs!
You need to decide how you will look after your signed Will and then let your chosen executors know where it is. Don’t just tell them, write it down. Ideally it should NOT be kept in a safety deposit box at your bank (unless you give someone else a key to it!) because when you die the bank cannot open the deposit box until the executors of the Will are appointed and the grant of representation cannot be granted without the Will. This creates “catch 22” situation because your executors cannot be appointed until the original Will is in their possession.
Malky Chaloner, Wills & Tax solicitor, “At Frettens, when we draw up your Will we will store the original Will and provide you with a physical copy, as well as an electronic copy if that is required.” All of this is done for the one off fee that we charge for writing the Will and giving the advice in the first place. There are no further hidden charges like “release fees”. And finally, because we are insured and regulated, if the Will does go missing despite our meticulous processes, we will rectify the situation and ensure that neither your executors not your estate are in any way prejudiced or out of pocket.
We have offices in Christchurch and the New Forest. Our Wills & Tax team also cover Bournemouth and Poole. For a free initial chat, please call 01202 499255 and Malky or a member of the team will be happy to discuss any questions that you may have.