Why store a will?

Due to the unregulated nature of will-writing, there are many problems that arise due to poor storage of Wills. The Law Society has many examples on record of clients being unable to locate a will, wills being unprotected and/or kept in inappropriate places, significant and unreasonable ongoing charges for the storage of the will.

Storing a copy of your will with WillScan can eliminate or help alleviate common problems found with physical storage.

You may have written your own will in which case one of WillScan's registered solicitors and will-writers will be able to review the content. Any problems with the drafting of a DIY will can be spotted and corrected by them at the time of submission to WillScan.

Compatible with existing Will Registers

There is no single register of wills in the UK, and several organisations have introduced competing National Will Registers. WillScan is compatible with all the existing national registers, and helps with their search facilities for missing will copies.

Electronic Documents and Probate

As electronic filing is now normal procedure for many companies, the UK legal system now accepts the legal admissibility of documents stored electronically. A WillScan copy of the Will with a full read-level audit trail is the most secure storage solution, and you can use it to apply to Probate to prove the Copy Will when it is clear that the Will has been damaged, destroyed, or cannot be found. WillScan provides the best possible copy, verified by the Will Writer at the point of signing.

Legal Precedents

It is established law that where a will has been destroyed in the testator’s lifetime (either by himself unintentionally or by any other person without his direction) or where a will has been destroyed after the testator’s death, or cannot be found, or where its disappearance is presumed to be attributable to an accident then a copy of the will may be admitted to probate.

The most recent reported case on this issue (although the case law does stretch back over 100 years) is the case of Ferneley v Napier (2010).  In this case the High Court confirmed that the standard of proof for a establishing the terms and execution of a lost will for the purpose of admitting it to probate is the usual civil standard (i.e. on the balance of probabilities) as opposed to the higher criminal standard (i.e. beyond reasonable doubt).

It is best practice for practitioners to advise testators to keep a copy of their will and details of its whereabouts where they can easily be found to avoid the risk of either the original or a copy of the will being unable to be found particularly as many years often pass between making the will and the testator’s death.

© WillScan Ltd 2016. Registered address: Unit A, Tectonic Place, Holyport Road, Maidenhead, SL6 2YE
Company registered in England and Wales No. 07933669

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