Where is the best place to keep a will? We all know that you need to find a safe and secure place to store your will but where is best? After you’ve written your final will and testament, you have a few options when it comes to who you store your will with and where. We’re going to explore each of your available options.
Usually when you hide something away to keep it safe, you don’t intend for anyone to find it. Your will on the other hand, is a document that you do want the right people to find at the right time. After going to the effort of writing up your will and sorting thing properly, it’s important that you store it in the right place. Storing your will in the wrong place or somewhere that your executor is unable to access could result in your will not getting read. If neither your solicitor nor executor can locate or access your will then it was a complete waste of time writing one in the first place.
Where Should You Not Store Your Will?
While writing your last will you will need to assign an executor to handle proceedings after your death. The executor is the one who will handle the sale and sharing of your assets. You should inform the person you have chosen of their role as executor in your will so they can be prepared. When thinking of where to keep your will, it should be a place that your executor can access. If the executor is unable to access your will after your death, it will have to go to probate before they will be granted access.
Although it might seem like a good idea, don’t store your will in a bank safety deposit box. The only time you can consider this option is if your executor is a joint manager of the safety deposit box and has authorised access. If not, the bank may require a court order before your executor is granted access, which may take a long time. Failing that, the will may have to go to probate before anything can happen. You should make sure that the executor of your will has access to your will before it goes to probate. Probate is when you have permission from the court to administer the contents of your will but a probate can’t usually go ahead without the presence of a will.
Where’s the Best Place to Keep a Will?
You can store your will in a number of places. Although most people decide it’s best for their solicitor to keep a hold of their last will and testament, you can store it at home or wherever you choose. Should you decide to create your will with the help of a legal professional, it is a good idea to store the will with them. While on the one hand, you will pay more for this legal assistance, unlike if you used a DIY will kit, you can rest assured knowing that your will is in safe hands with at your solicitor’s office. This might even be included in with the cost of forming your last will and testament. If you store your will with a lawyer, be sure to inform your next of kin and/or the executor of your will that you have done so.
Usually, if the solicitor wrote your will for you, they will store the original for you and will give you a copy. This service is normally free of charge if you store your will with the same solicitor it was written by. There’s no doubt that storing your last will and testament with your lawyer is a safe bet. In the case that anything goes wrong or your will gets lost, damaged or stolen, you will be covered by your law firm who will ensure the issue is resolved. Although, if the solicitor in charge of storing your will was not the one who wrote it, you will have to pay extra to have it stored and managed by them.
Another option available is storing it with a will writing service. If you’ve sought the help of a will writing service to help you put your final will together then you may store the document with them. This usually comes at an extra cost but it is usually less expensive than paying for a solicitor to store your will. In general, paying out for a will writing service to curate and then store your will is typically less expensive than if you were to do the same through a lawyer. However, before rushing into anything, make sure that you ask your will writing service about where you stand if the will was to get lost, stolen or damaged. Whereas you would be fully insured with a solicitor, you might not have the same protection with a will writing firm. Always check beforehand so that you can make a sensible, informed decision and always keep a copy for yourself!
But you don’t have to recruit a lawyer to store your will for you. Just like when you write up your will, hiring a solicitor isn’t essential. You can write your own will at home or using a DIY will template to guide you. Then when you’re finished, you can store your last will and testament at home. Obviously, you need to be sensible about this. You don’t want to keep it on the coffee table, in the magazine rack or under the bed. Even if you choose to do a DIY job of writing and storing your will from start to finish, it’s a task that needs to be treated in a professional manner. Ideally, you should allocate a secure, preferably locked space in your home to safely store the will. Storing your will in a locked cabinet, lockable cupboard or safe are all good examples.
Who Should You Tell?
The fact that you’ve written a will and have stored it away safely doesn’t need to be public knowledge - but you should tell the executor of the will. Who you appoint as executor is your choice. It is usually one’s next of kin but it really is your decision. It doesn’t matter who you tell but by all means tell the person you’ve appointed as executor. If they don’t know where your will is kept then you might as well not have written a will. It’s also advisable that you make a copy of your will to have on hand, no matter whether you store the original at home or with a third party!