Will Storage Probate Registry?
Will storage in the UK is a perennial problem, and we only know of one firm which offers a service which is genuinely fit for purpose. Make sure YOUR Last Will is sensibly and securely stored. The best option, we believe, is option 6, as we have worked hard with them to design the best possible service combining security with ongoing information and advice. Your Legal Planning is not a one off event. It is a long term strategy which must evolve as circumstances, the law and tax issues change.
1) Will Storage at the Probate Registry is a common option. Essentially, you pop your Will in a sealed envelope and send it to the Probate Registry Will Storage Department at the Principal Probate Registry. Will storage costs are a one-off £20 but that is it. Your Will goes out into a dark vault and never sees the light of day again until you or your executors ask for it – the executors only after your death of course!
2) Solicitors Will Storage.
Solicitors often offer Will storage for “nothing”. It isn’t because they are such nice chaps, it’s because they hope to get the probate business when you die. That is where the expression “goodwill” comes from, and the number of Will in storage has a big influence on the value of a solicitors practice. Bereaved family members going in to collect the Will are fairly easy to sign up for probate without carefully reviewing the fees on offer, never mind negotiating them. Solicitors increasingly move, amalgamate and go out of business.
3) Lifetime Will Storage.
Some firms charge an upfront fee for lifetime Will storage. which is something we are not keen on. In many cases, the form offering the lifetime storage service is not substantial enough to carry the costs of storage for the next 50 years. Especially if they offer a lifetime of free amendments and updates – they would have to put most of the fee into reserves to be able to survive, and most of them just don’t have the financial muscle to do that.
4) Bank Will Storage.
Banks offer storage facilities, but the only problem is that your executors will have no right to access your stored documents until they have a Grant of Probate. And they can’t get a Grant of Probate without getting the Will from the bank store. Make sure this situation is covered, as the banks are absolutely right to refuse access – they don’t know what is in your storage box, and only a Grant of Probate authorises anyone else to access any of your assets!
5) Home Will Storage.
Oh dear. Apart from the fact that most home safes will incinerate documents in them if there is a fire, you run the risk of accidental and deliberate loss. Greedy folk who think their husband / wife is being unfairly treated are likely to throw away the Will. This then means that the Rules of Intestacy, or possibly an older Will, apply, so your Will probably won’t be done!
6) Will Storage UK Peace of Mind Service.
The best system we are aware of is run by our sister company, Will Custodian Ltd. Their Will storage system offers:
- Copy documents for you.
- Laminated storage certificates for client and executors. NOT just a single page letter.
- Regular Newsletter about changes in Tax and the Law.
- Annual Checklist of family and personal issues which may require changes.
- Above all, a free advice line for their clients who need advice – most of whom would not have realised there was an issue without the Newsletter and Checklist! We provide the advice, they do the rest.
- At the time of writing, this service can cost as little as £2.35 a month, for Will storage and all the other services.