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  • Writer's pictureSamuel Jones

Keeping important documents safe

As you grow older and your affairs grow more complex you will amass a growing pile of important documents like share certificates, original Wills or Lasting Powers of Attorney.

However if these documents are kept at home there is always the risk of loss due to burglary or damage by flooding or fire. For this reason, many people choose to store their original Wills and documents with their bank in a deposit box. Some banks charge for this service. If a Will is kept within a safe deposit box with the bank, the bank will not release the box to the Executor to collect the Will until the Executors has a Grant of Probate. This is problematic as the original Will is needed to obtain the Grant of Probate.

Banks do not always provide a reliable service as Wills can still be mislaid. Recently, Lloyds Bank had a large collection of old Wills which it could not match to their customers and were not released to the Executors at the date of the customers’ death. They erroneously advised the families incorrectly that the original Will was not held by them only to discover the original Will some years later.

This meant that if a customer had not made a Will afterwards, then the family would have assumed the customer may have died intestate or the estate could have been distributed under the terms of an earlier Will the customer would have wanted to supersede. This has also meant that sums of money and gifts of valuable items may have passed to the wrong people. I understand Lloyds are paying compensation to those who have gone without.

For this reason we recommend to our clients to make sure that their Wills are accessible and whereabouts known to your appointed Executors in the event of your death. At Garden House Solicitors we offer a free Wills storage service to our clients where Wills and other important documents are stored in a fireproof vault. Our clients keep a copy of the Will which is labelled in such a way that any Executors can easily trace us. As an option, Wills can also be kept with the Probate Service for a fee of £20 and can also be registered on Certainty the National Will Register.

If you would like to draft a Will with Garden House Solicitors, please call the office on 01992 422128.


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