Where should I store my Will?

by Steven Felts

Every year hundreds, if not thousands of people’s estates will be distributed incorrectly because a deceased person's last Will has been misplaced or lost or simply was not known about. To ensure that your wishes can be carried out when the time comes, it is vitally important that your Personal Representatives are:-

  1. Aware that you have made a Will
  2. Know where the original Will is stored.

There is no complete central register of Wills and no requirement for compulsory registration so to ensure that your wishes are carried out are to ensure that people know that you have made a Will and where it is stored.

Who should you tell that you have made a Will?

At the end of the day, you don’t have to tell anyone that you have made a Will, but to ensure that your wishes are carried out we recommend that you tell your intended personal representatives that you have made a Will and just as importantly where it is stored.

In addition to minimise the risks of a family dispute where appropriate to do so, we recommend that you tell your family and beneficiaries that you have made a Will.

Whenever you make a new Will you should tell people to ensure that the correct Will is probated in due course.

Who should keep the original will?

Although it is possible to prove a copy of a Will if the original cannot be found, it will cost more money to prove a copy of your Will and the process will take much longer involving the Probate Registry when the original Will cannot be found.

Where can I store a will?

The bottom line is you can store your Will wherever you like, but the main options are:

  1. Keeping your will at home

You can of course store your will at home for free.

However, where an original Will cannot be found after a person’s death it is assumed that they have revoked it unless there is evidence to contrary so if the Will has simply been misplaced or lost your estate could be dealt with under an earlier Will or under the Intestacy rules.

  1. Storing your will with a solicitor

Solicitors will often store Wills free of charge. Solicitors are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, so if the firm ceases to trade or merges with another firm, all Wills stored with that firm will be transferred to another regulated firm to ensure your Will remains secure. Solicitors must also have professional indemnity insurance, and so if your Will is lost or damaged due to the firm's fault, your estate should be compensated.

  1. Keeping your will with a Will writer

If a Will Writer prepares your Will, they may also store it for you, often for a reoccurring annual fee. As Will Writers are not subject to the same level of regulation as solicitors' firms, you should check what procedures and insurance is in place in the event of the firm going out of business or if there is a problem with your Will.

  1. Lodging your Will with the Probate Service

In England and Wales you can deposit your Will with the Government's Probate Service for a small fee. It can be deposited in person at any of the district probate registries, or send it by post, accompanied by a completed form. The Will is then stored at the Principal Probate Registry in London. You can retrieve your Will yourself during your lifetime (by completing a form), or your personal representatives can do so once you have died. There is no fee for retrieving a Will.

The key however is ensuring that people know where your Will is stored. At Christopher Davidson Solicitors we can store your Will in our strongroom and provide you with a copy of the same and a formal receipt to confirm where it is held.

If this service is of interest to you or to find out more about how Christopher Davidson Solicitors LLP can help you with Wills and Probate matters please call us on 01242 581481 or email