will writing services | probate advice

How Should a Will Be Stored?

Are you one of just 30% of adults in the UK who are protecting their family and financial assets by making a will? If so, have you considered where to store it?

The importance of safely storing your will is not to be overlooked – if your will gets lost or can’t be found by your executor, it will be as if you haven’t written one, putting you at risk of dying “interstate” if no will can be found. Therefore, it is crucial to let your executor know where it is and to make your will easily accessible.

In this article, we cover ways of storing a will, places you definitely should not store a will, who should keep the original will, and how Legacy Wills and Probate can help with professional will writing:

Ways of Storing a Will

Once a will has been written, it should be stored in a safe place with no other documents attached to it. There are numerous places to keep a will:

  1. At Home

It costs nothing to keep your will at home, but it poses many risks. For example, it is much easier for a will to be lost or damaged by flood or fire.

What’s more, it can make your will a lot harder to be located by your family or executor after your death, compared to being stored by a legal body.

To prevent this, you can secure the will better in your home with the likes of a locked safe to help give you a peace of mind.

Pros: it is free.
Cons: a will has a greater chance of being accidentally damaged or thrown away.

  1. At the Principal Probate Registry

Paying the Probate service (the branch of the court service that deals with probate applications) a fee of £20 allows you to keep your will at London’s Principal Probate Registry. It can be deposited easily in person at any of the district probate registries or by post.

However, if you need to change your will (e.g., in the event of a divorce or having children), you must pay an additional £20 to resubmit your new will. Your executors are not charged for retrieving the will though and will have the authority to request it from storage.

Pros: It’s a cheap and secure way of storing your will.

Cons: you have to pay a fee of £20 for every time you need to change and submit your will.

  1. At a Solicitors

Solicitors will usually store a will for free if they prepared it, but some will also store wills that they have not prepared (but will probably charge a fee in this case). Solicitor firms must have professional indemnity insurance, so you should be compensated if your will is lost or damaged by the firm.

Additionally, thanks to the Solicitors Regulation Authority, if the firm ceases to trade or merges with another firm, all wills will be transferred to another regulated firm.

Pros: solicitors are regulated, so if the will is lost or damaged you can gain compensation. 

Cons: not all solicitors that write your will allow you to store it with them for free, and you might have to pay extra if you are storing it with a firm that didn’t write your will.

  1. With a Will Writer

Similarly, a will writing firm may store your will free of charge if they prepared it for you. Even with an extra charge though, they usually cost less than it would with a solicitor.

However, will writers are not subject to the same level of regulation as those for solicitors’ firms, so it is wise to check what procedures and insurance policies are in place.

Pros: they can cost less than a solicitor and are usually a secure way of storing your will

Cons: depending on the firm, you might not be well protected if something goes wrong. 

Where not to Keep Your Will

Whatever you do, never store your will in a bank safety deposit box. When someone dies, the bank can’t open the box until the executor gets probate – and probate can’t be granted without the will, making it a prolonged process to gain access to your will.

What’s more, you should avoid paying an annual storage fee: many companies ask for a fee for storing a will (sometimes on an annual basis even), which is unnecessary.

How Legacy Wills & Probate can Help

Whatever way you choose to store your will, it is vital to make sure that it is secure and easily located for when you pass away.

Legacy Wills and Probate gives you a caring service in the handling and storing of a will, and with our many years of experience, you can trust us for stress-free advice at a time of important and difficult decision making.

So, whether you want to write a will or have advice on the best way to store your will, we can help. Don’t hesitate to call our friendly team today.