Common Legal Questions: Storing my Will
Posted on 2nd January 2020
Many banks offer their own Will writing service, which can sometimes be offered as a free incentive to customers to open an account with that specific bank, or can be offered at a low cost, provided that the bank is appointed as executor of the person’s estate.
Before deciding to take your bank up on their services, however, our team of local Wills and Probate solicitors have recently read a worrying article about one bank who has potentially caused problems for hundreds – even thousands – of the loved one’s of people who have used their Will-writing service.
Lloyds Bank has discovered a collection of thousands of Wills stored in their ‘safe custody’ service, amongst around 190,000 papers, which had been stored in the service since it was closed in 2011. According to an article published by STEP, some of the envelopes discovered could not be matched to Lloyds customers, so the testators may never know, or remember, that their Will is stored with Lloyds.
Why is this an issue?
Well, the discovery could cause issues for executors, or those appointed under the rules of intestacy (which you can read about on our local Wills and Probate solicitors’ blog, here), as they may have administered an estate based on either an old Will, or there being no Will of the deceased what-so-ever. If this turns out to be incorrect, and they have wrongly distributed an estate, this could lead to claims being made by the correct beneficiaries.
What is Lloyds saying?
According to the bank, around 90% of the Wills are either revoked by a newer one, or copies of the Will were available elsewhere, thus meaning that this discovery has not caused any issues. They also state that in a lot of the intestate cases, the estate was distributed in accordance with what was in the Will, anyway, and therefore there has been no harm done.
However, all is not well for everyone, as some estates have been distributed to the wrong beneficiaries, Lloyds had promised that those affected will be compensated, including any legal costs, and that any beneficiaries who perhaps should not have inherited, will not have assets clawed back from them.
What are the consequences?
Sadly, Lloyd’s mistake could lead to a whole host of claims – both probate and negligence, which our team of Wills and Probate Solicitors can help with.
How do I prevent this from happening to me?
Well, as your local Wills and Probate solicitors, we keep a full documentation of the Wills that we store on behalf of clients, as well as keeping copies in an alternative location and online to prevent there from being an issue in locating the Will in the future.
We are also offering our clients the opportunity to register their Will with certainty, a company who keep a record of the Wills made in England and Wales, at no extra cost.
This will ensure that, on your death, if your loved ones are struggling to find your Will, they can carry out a Will search, which would show that you made a Will, when it was made, and where it is stored (although this information is usually not made available to them immediately, as the solicitors who hold the Will need to contact the executors, usually).
To find out more about the professionals drafting and storing your Will, contact our team today.
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Tagged as: Garstang Solicitors, Lancaster Law, Preston Law, Wills and Probate, Your Local Solicitors
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