Will Storage

Your Will is one of the most important documents you will ever make.  If your Will can’t be found after you’ve passed away, the Law presumes you’ve purposely destroyed it and you will be considered to have died intestate.  So your Will won’t be acted on and none of your wishes will be followed.

As a member of the New Leaf Will Writers Federation (NLWWF) we will then deposit your Will with their secure facility which provides the following safety features:

  • Protection against fire, flooding & water damage
  • 24 Hour CCTV Monitoring
  • Secure perimeter fencing & electronic access gates

Your Will is then registered on “The National Will Register” free of charge (usually £30 per Will). This is a UK wide database used to record the location of Wills. This is the first place that a legal professional should check if the executors are unable to locate the original document themselves.


How will my documents be protected?

The facility offers a number of security features which ensure that your Will is completely protected against any risks that could damage or invalidate it:

 Full protection against flooding and water damage
Full protection against fire and smoke 
 Bar coded registration to ensure ease of access and retrieval
A fully secured facility, monitored by CCTV 24 hours a day
 Access limited to registered staff only, enforced by secure entr


Once your Wills have been signed, it is important they be stored securely.  Wherever you choose to store your Wills, it is essential that you store them in a safe place and make your Executors aware of where the documents are and how they can be accessed.



Storing At A Bank

Banks no longer offer storage facilities for Wills, which means the need to rent a safe deposit box.  If you decide on that option, you will need to find out how the bank will control the box after your death. Some banks will not allow anyone except a court‑appointed administrator to open the box to retrieve the Will. This policy may cause difficulty and delay in settling your Estate. Other banks allow a family member to remove the Will in the presence of bank officials. Whatever their protocol you should make sure the Executors named in your Will have access to your safe deposit box after your death.

Banks will make a charge for any storage facility and these charges will escalate over time.

Relying on others to remember the location of you Will is not wise. Individuals do forget and become confused, particularly at distressing times, so it is sensible to leave a note of their location with your important papers.  If you decide to store them at home, you should really get a fireproof safe.

If you decide on a Bank in which to rent a safe deposit box, you need to find out how the bank will control the box after your death. Some banks will not allow anyone except a court-appointed administrator to open the box to retrieve the Will. This policy may cause difficulty and delay in settling your Estate. Other banks allow a family member to remove your Will in the presence of bank officials. You should make sure the Executor named in your Will has access to your safe deposit box after your death.


Storing At Home

If you choose to keep your Will at home, there is no guarantee that it will be protected from fire, theft, flooding or pests.  You could also lose them when you move house.  Any marking of the Will can draw its validity into question.  The majority of Wills that are destroyed or damaged at home are done so at the hands of the owner whether or not through a simple accident, but it happens with surprising frequency. If you do decide to store your Wills at home you will need to tell someone you trust where you have put them, so that they can be found when you die.  This is very important, because if the original, signed Will were not found, your Estate would normally be treated as if you had died intestate, and your assets might not be distributed as you would have wished.

There always a risk that being unsecured others may find and destroy it, in which case you will have been deemed to have died intestate (i.e. without having written a Will).  In that case none of your wishes may happen.



Storing At A Solicitor

This is an option for those with a friendly solicitor, but generally a solicitor will only want to store your Will with them if they have written it for you and they may well wish to have themselves written into the Will as Executors.  Solicitors and Banks will aften charge a percentage of the value of the Estate to act as Executor and these charges can be exhorbitant, sometimes as much as 4% or even higher, so check out what they woudl charge to act as an Executor before getting them to write your Will.

Again you need to ensure that you have told someone where your Will is stored and also check on their storage fees and whether they will escalate over time.



Storing At The NLWWF Facility

The reason we store our client’s Wills in the NLWWF storage facility is that it is secure but offers many other benefits too.

NLWWF take ownership and FULL responsibility for the lifetime storage of your documents - ensuring your wishes are found when they are needed.

Your Will is fully checked by their Administration Department after you've signed it and BEFORE it goes into storage, to make sure it has been signed and witnessed correctly.  This final check ensures your Will is legally valid and its validity cannot be questioned at the time it is read.


The Decision Is Yours

Whatever you finally decide, unless you pass your Wills to us for safe keeping, you are responsible for the safe keeping of your Wills.  If you hold on to your Wills, you might also want to consider storing details of the location of your Wills on a central database at   http://www.willdata.info/ for a one-off fee of £30, which is provided at no cost to you when your Will is stored in the NLWWF facility. 

Willdata.info was founded in 2003 as a National Will Registration and Search Facility for tracking down the location of Wills and is considered as the most comprehensive UK National Will Register, although there is no official national Will database. Willdata hold registrations for Wills dating back to the early 1900’s and registering the location of your Will on their database is completely free.

However they do NOT store Wills, they only maintain a database of Will locations