Once your Will has been drawn up, signed, dated and witnessed, it should be kept in a safe, easy to access place, as it is a very important legal document. Any damage to the document can lead to challenges made in court and legal problems with the administration of your estate. Loss of the Will document will of course, cause even greater problems as there will be no formal record of your wishes.
There is no legal requirement to store your Will with a government department or registry office, and it is up to you to decide on the best place to store your Will.
Store your Will with us
If you order your Will with us we strongly recommend storage of your Will at our safe and secure offices. If you ever need to update your Will you can do so free of charge and have the amended version stored with us at no additional cost.
Fees for storage
You will receive a certificate of storage and your executors will have Custody ID Retrieval Cards which they can use when they need to retrieve your Will.
At the Principal Probate Registry
It is also possible to deposit your Will and any codicils with the High Court and have it stored at the Principal Probate Registry at the following address. The Probate Department, The Principal Registry of the Family Division, First Avenue House, 42-49 High Holborn, London, WC1V 6NP Tel: 020 7947 6948
There is a charge for storing your Will with the High Court.
With a Solicitor
Most solicitors offer fireproof storage for your Will for a fee. Storing your Will with a solicitor is ideal if you want the solicitor to be your executor. However, some people prefer to store their Will with the principal registry office, as solicitors can sometimes move offices or cease trading, and this could make your Will difficult to locate when it is needed.
At a bank
Some banks offer secure storage facilities and provide clients with the option of storing their Will for a yearly fee. However, it can be time-consuming for a loved one to access a Will that is stored at a bank. Often people have more than one bank account, and this can lead to confusion if the executor is not informed of exactly where the document is being stored.
In a safe place 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. In addition, it must be accessible to the executor. If you do decide to store your Will at home you will need to tell someone you trust where you have put it, so that it 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.
Wherever you choose to store your Will, it is essential that you store it in a safe place and make the executor aware of where the document is and how they can access it.