The National Will Register recently announced it now has 10 million Wills in its system. A first for such a will register in the UK and only 16 years since its inception.
In that time, we’ve heard a lot of questions asking why it’s important to not only write a Will, but to register it and subsequently search for the Will of a loved one when they pass.
One of the key statistics behind our services is 20%. That’s how often one of our Certainty Will Searches finds a Will that is either unknown or supersedes a known Will, and as such impacts estate administration.
We’ve devised five important reasons why this happens, and also why you should use The National Will Register:
We don’t tell our children where our Wills are
When we asked UK adults whether they have told their children if they have made a Will and, if so, where it is stored, 66% of respondents said that they had not discussed it with their children.
What this means is that upon their passing, the next of kin (particularly in a scenario where they were the last surviving parent or did not have a spouse or partner at the time of passing) will find it much more challenging to be able to find and present the Will for estate administration. Ultimately, their wishes may end up neglected because the Will cannot be found.
With Will registration through The National Will Register, even if your loved ones haven’t been told about the existence or location of a Will, they can carry out what is known as a Certainty Will Search to find where the Will is stored, so it can be used for estate administration.
Ringing around to find a Will can take hours, days, weeks even
The National Will Register was created after the realisation that there was no central record of Wills, and we were left to essentially collate a list of firms and Will writers and dedicate hours at a time to calling round and chasing up to see if a Will has been made with that firm.
Gone are the days where it is commonplace for families to use the same solicitor or law firm for every matter and as such families would be looking for hints or clues behind who may have written a Will, or resort to calling firms in the local area and having difficult conversations over and over again until it is found – if one is out there to be found.
If a Will had been registered with The National Will Register, a Will Register Search will locate it with ease, and the holder of the Will making contact (so long as the searcher is entitled to the Will) very quickly. If not, The National Will Register can still undertake what is known as a REACH Search – which searches the firms of three geographical locations for you, so you can have certainty without having to dedicate the time to the phones yourself.
The Will you find might not be the valid Will
It is good practice to update your Will whenever your circumstances change: buying property or assets, a change in marital status, having children, grandchildren, and so forth.
However, what that does mean, particularly if you are assisting with a loved one that keeps paperwork, you may come across a Will that is not the most recent iteration, and therefore the valid Will.
By searching The National Will Register, you can have certainty that the Will you hold is the most recent Will, as they will search for any Wills that are registered or unregistered within geographical areas where a Will is likely to be held.
Sometimes, we forget
Another reason why the location of a Will, or the existence of a Will, is unknown is simply due to the passage of time. Sometimes, we simply forget where it is that a Will was made or stored – maybe after various house moves paperwork gets lost; firms shut down, merge, move out of town…
While you should make a Will whenever your circumstances change, you may not experience a need for a new Will for decades. In those cases, it’s easy to forget where your Will is, who wrote it, or even if you have made a Will.
That’s why registering your Will is important. To have that safety net so that both you and your loved ones can locate the Will easily as and when it is needed. Without registration, a REACH Search can still locate the Will as well.
Trusted by the legal industry and more
Thousands of solicitors from sole practitioners to more than half of the Legal 500 are members of The National Will Register – and we work alongside and recommended by some of the industry’s leading organisations including The Law Society, Citizens Advice Bureau, Will Aid, The Society of Will Writers and the Institute of Professional Will Writers, as well as the Solicitors For The Elderly and Will Aid.
The National Will Register is also referenced in Practice Notes, Guidance Notes, Legal Opinions and books from Lexis Nexis, the Practical Law Company, King’s Counsel, The Law Society and Tolley’s Administration of Estates.
What this means for you is that The National Will Register is a recommended resource within the Wills and probate industry, and as such registering Wills and searching for Wills with The National Will Register is considered best practice by many within the industry.
Click to find out more about registering a Will, or searching for a Will with The National Will Register. Between now and December 31st, we are celebrating reaching 10 million Wills on The National Will Register with online Will registration. Simply enter the code 10M when registering online.