One of the questions often asked by family upon a person's death is do you know where the will is? If you have not been informed of this vital piece of information things can begin to get rather difficult rather quickly.
With no official central register in the UK finding a will can be extremely difficult. Yes, Certainty offer a will registration service but this is a service which legal practices opt in to use. Still the vast majority of firms in this country do not use the service which means that hiding in the vaults of many law firms are thousands of current and historical wills which may have been forgotten, revoked or are simply waiting for someone to find them.
The Daily Mail reported on 29 October 2019 that Lloyds Bank have, due to an administrative blunder, discovered many wills in their storage system which may mean that up to 9000 families could have to unravel estates administered some years ago. This could mean that estates have been distributed under the Intestacy Rules to the wrong beneficiaries or under a previous will as no-one knew that stored by Lloyds Bank existed! It is understood that these wills were found among 190,000 valuable papers stored in their safe custody service.
Despite this blunder Lloyds Bank believe that any issues may be restricted to families within the hundreds and not thousands as 90% of the wills located had been superseded by new wills.
Should anyone suffer difficulties as a result of this mishap Lloyds have confirmed that they will be fully compensated, that legal costs to rectify the situation will be covered and no-one who has incorrectly received funds from an estate will be asked to return payments.
So what is the moral of this story?? Always make sure that you know where you will is. Keep a copy of it at home if you are storing elsewhere and make sure that your immediate family know its location. If you do make a new will collect your old wills from storage and keep them with the new will. Make sure you also store your will with a law firm rather than a bank as a safety deposit box cannot be opened until a Grant of Probate has been obtained and you cannot do this without the will!!
If you are searching for somewhere to store your will Argo offers free storage for your will and other important paperwork which you are welcome to use. Not only do we store your documents safely but we provide you with a paper and electronic copy and twenty four hour access to our strongroom facility meaning you can access documents whenever you wish.
If you have had problems with Lloyds and this whole messy situation has affected you please give us a call on 01622 843729
to see what we can do to help sort it out.