The National Will Register are holding their annual Free Will Registration Month from Tuesday 4th May until Friday 4th June 2021.
In the past year, many people have considered how they would wish for their estate to be distributed after they pass away. This was reflected in the demand for Will writing sharply increasing amidst the Covid-19 outbreak with members of the public either reviewing their current Will or by contacting a solicitor or Will writing professional to write a Will for the first time.
Writing a Will is a personal experience and allows the testator (the person writing the Will) to name who they would like to leave their estate to after they have passed away.
Part of the process of writing a Will is to ensure it can be quickly located following a death. Therefore, when writing your Will, you should also register it with The National Will Register. If your beneficiaries or executors are unsure if they are in possession of the last Will, cannot find the Will or are unaware if a Will was ever written, it can cause additional stress for your loved ones as well as put them at risk of distributing your estate incorrectly.
The National Will Register is a trusted partner of The Law Society of England & Wales and was set-up over a decade ago to help ensure that after a death a Will, and the last version of it, can be found. Today over 8.9 million Wills are now in the registration system. This means that after someone dies and before probate is granted, a Will can be located for a loved one by a person named in the Will (the executors and beneficiaries).
Registering a Will is a vital process that prevents families, beneficiaries and executors suffering additional stress because they either cannot find the Will, are not sure if they hold the last Will or are unaware if a Will was ever written.
Being able to locate a Will quickly after a death removes the additional emotional turmoil the family can face hunting through their loved one’s possessions. If they do find a copy of a Will, they then have to work out if it is indeed the last Will written and will need to understand where the original is stored, as the original document will be required to distribute the estate. This can be very distressing and create unnecessary uncertainty at a difficult time.
When it’s time to distribute the estate, the responsibility lies with the executor to distribute the estate correctly, a process more commonly known as ‘probate’. The executor is financially liable for any errors made during distribution. It is therefore absolutely imperative that the executors can locate the Will and distribute the assets in line with the Will.
Remember, if you’ve written a Will and it cannot be found then your estate will be distributed under the rules of intestacy. Therefore, posing the threat that those who you may have outlined to inherit could be left with nothing.
Free Will Registration Month is running from Tuesday 4th May until Friday 4th June. To register your Will visit www.nationalwillregister.co.uk and enter the code FreeWillReg2021 when asked. You do not need a copy of your Will to register it and the register does not need to see your Will.