What do I do with my Will once it’s written?

It’s estimated that around only 40% of adults in the UK have written a Will. If you’re one of those then you’ve taken an important step to lay out how your estate is to be distributed on your death. But simply writing your Will may not be enough to guarantee that your wishes are followed.

Obviously, it’s an important document and you need to store it in a safe place. It might seem like a good idea to keep it in your folder of important documents but in the event of theft, fire or flood, it could be lost. It’s a better idea to store it away from your home.

Most Will-writing professionals offer a Will storage service too. If they don’t there are other options such as a Will storage company or even the probate service. However never keep your Will in a bank safety deposit box. The bank won’t open that box for anyone other than yourself or, in the event of your death, an executor who has been granted probate. However, your executor won’t be able to gain probate until he has access to your Will. It’s a catch-22 situation.

Don’t attach anything to your Will either. If there are any marks on the paper from staples or similar it may raise some doubt that there is a missing amendment which might cause complications for your executors.

It’s always a good idea to tell your family – and in particular your executor(s) – where your Will is stored. You should also consider registering it with an accredited Will register. Although there is normally a small fee for doing this, it means that the Will is easy to trace.

Once you’ve completed these things, your Will is safe. However, it’s important to check it over every few years or if any significant life events occur in the meantime. For example, if you get married or form a civil partnership, an earlier Will becomes invalid. If you get divorced, it remains valid but any references to your former partner become invalid – which can have significant consequences. Alternatively, grandchildren might be born or people who were your beneficiaries might die. In any of these events, you might like to review and revise your Will to accommodate any changes.

For help with this or any part of the Will writing process, speak to one of our professionals at legalmatters today. Call us on 01243 216900 or email us at info@legalmatters.co.uk.

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