Do you have a valid and up to date Will in place? If you do - that’s great! It’s so important to prepare for any scenario. However, what good is it if your Will can’t be found by your loved ones following your death?
If your Will can’t be located, the law will assume that you have destroyed it which means that your last wishes will not take effect and you will be treated as having died intestate. Of course, this is the very last thing you want to happen to your loved ones in an already difficult time.
Lost documents may mean that those who you wanted to inherit from you might not. It may also lead to strained and even permanently damaged relationships between your loved ones.
This is why it’s so important to use secure document storage. Whilst there is no legal requirement for storing a Will, it’s important for it to be safe, accessible and where your Executor(s) can find it. As well as there being a potential for loss and misplacement, natural disasters such as a flood or fire could also damage or completely destroy your Will.
As Estate Planners, we have unfortunately witnessed people being unable to locate a Will that their late loved one has written. For example, one family had been repeatedly told by their elderly relative in a nursing home that her Will was in a very specific place in her home. However, upon her death her loved ones were unable to find her original, signed Will anywhere, despite a thorough search which spanned months. Luckily, a copy of the Will was found and there were many witnesses that could provide evidence that she did have a last Will which she intended to stand, they were able to apply with the Probate Registry to request them to admit the signed copy to Probate.
This process took almost two years and inevitably increased the cost to administer her estate by a significant amount. The reality of this situation is that if the original Will had been stored in a secure place, it could have been located upon her death and there would have been no extra time, hassle or costs. This is a case in which the outcome was relatively positive, however we have seen people in similar scenarios that have not been as lucky.
Don’t leave behind chaos for your loved ones. If you would like more information about secure document storage, get in touch today.