It is not uncommon through the passage of time that firms can re-locate or close down which can result in other firms inheriting Will Banks which sometimes results in testator’s not being aware of the location of their Will.
It is important for clients to know where their Wills have moved to so they have the reassurance that their Wills can be located upon death or they can access them easily if they need to review their Will.
Mr Lightwing comments: “My wife and I wrote Wills at a local law firm in St. Albans in 1980. Since then we had relocated nearly 100 miles away so when my wife passed away, I needed to locate our Wills.”
“Trying to locate our Wills I discovered that the law firm had re-located in the St. Albans area.”
“I contacted one of my local solicitors who were able to find another registered address and phone number of the original law firm – it then came to light that the firm had actually closed down. The fact that they were storing documents of mine, I would have thought they would have contacted me advising me and asking what they should do with my documents.”
Mr Lightwing continues: “I was then put in touch with The National Will Register and conducted a Will Register Search via the form provided by the National Association of Funeral Directors. Unfortunately, our Wills had not been registered by our solicitor on the National Will Register but the staff at The National Will Register suggested I conduct a REACH Search which searches in up to three geographically targeted areas for Wills that have not been registered.”
“The Certainty Will Search located a Will at a local firm in St. Albans – less than a mile away from where the original firm had re-located! I was quickly contacted by the firm. They asked me to provide a death certificate and a form of ID. Following this they confirmed that they held both mine and my wife’s Will. It is comforting to know that I now know the location of my own Will and have the option to register it with The National Will Register to avoid the same situation occurring again.”
Registering clients’ Wills with The National Will Register is quick and easy, many solicitors include this as standard when drafting a new Will. In 2019 there were over 8.4 million Wills registered in The National Will Register system. This figure continues to rise daily. In most cases Will Registration can be provided free of charge to a law firms clients.