How should you store your Will?

Having a Will and an Enduring Power of Attorney is important. We are passionate about ensuring our clients have these documents in place.

But it’s not enough to just have a Will. You need to make sure it can be found if it is needed.

Here are our top tips for what you should do with your Will once it is prepared.

Tip 1: Do not hide your Will!

If your family and/or executor(s) cannot find your Will, then it will be assumed that you never prepared one. In this case the intestacy laws will be applied to your estate. This is what preparing your Will was to avoid in the first place.

Tip 2: Do not leave your original Will with your solicitor, accountant or bank.

Your family may not know which solicitor you used to prepare your Will. Over time, there could be a name change to the professional firm or the place it was stored has moved address. Such events may make it impossible for your family to locate your Will and again intestacy laws would be applied.

Tip 3: Tell your executor(s) where your Will is kept.

Make sure your executor(s) are aware of where your Will is stored.

Keeping these things in mind, we recommend that you keep your Will at home in an easily accessible location. There is no problem with your accountant or solicitor keeping a copy on their file, but the original should always be kept by you.

Tip 4: Keep your Will somewhere it will not get damaged.

We don’t recommend putting your Will into a safe. Firstly, a safe is often hidden, so your executor may not know that it exists. Secondly, the code to the safe may not be known by your executor and it may be necessary to destroy the safe to open it, which could damage the documents inside.

With the actual storage of your Will, do not attach anything to it. Store your Will in a plastic sleeve to protect it. If it appears that something was clipped or stapled to it the question arises, is a part of it missing – such as a Codicil?

So where should you keep it?

The best advice I can give is what I have done with my own estate planning documents.

In my study I have a coloured lever arch folder clearly labelled Wills and Insurance. In here my wife and I have our Wills, Enduring Powers of Attorney, Advanced Care Directives and Life Insurance details. This way, if something happens to us both, anyone who goes into our study will see this file without having to undertake a comprehensive search and our estate planning wishes can be carried out.