The National Will Register – What Is It & How To Use It
Posted on 16th September 2022 at 11:14
You may have made a Will, but what happens if your loved ones are unable to locate it when you die?
If your Will or a copy cannot be found after you die, your estate will be distributed in accordance with the intestacy rules, or in line with an earlier redundant Will, meaning your wishes may not be fulfilled. This may be because your family or loved ones mistakenly believe you did not create one or have cancelled or destroyed it.
You can ensure that you protect your loved ones by registering your Will with Certainty, the National Will register.
What is it?
The National Will Register exists to ensure no Will is left unknown or untraced when it is needed.
This means that if your loved ones are unable to locate your Will or are unsure whether there are any later Wills in existence, then a search of the Will register will tell them exactly where your latest Will is held.
This does not give just anyone access to your Will, it will remain at the solicitors, or with the party who drafted it or stores it, and your Will will only be released to your executors upon them presenting their ID and a death certificate.
Registering your Will with certainty will reduce the risk of your estate being distributed through intestacy or in line with a previous Will. It is easy for people to forget where they created their Will and to ensure any previous Wills are destroyed.
The National Will Register is not a centralised or government initiative, nor is it mandatory, but it is recommended that you register your Will to protect yourself, your executors, and your beneficiaries to ensure that your Will can be located upon your death.
Why would people not register their Wills?
Although you may inform your loved ones where your Will is held, it is unrealistic to expect them to remember this information for all those years. You may even forget this yourself.
Also, it may be the case that the people you have told of the location of your Will predecease you or move away and you stop having contact. This would result in your surviving loved ones being unable to locate your final Will.
What are the benefits of Will registration?
• Reduced risk of your loved ones losing their inheritance
If your Will was lost after your death and was distributed in line with intestacy rules, this would only benefit your direct descendants. This means that any provisions made for your friends, charities, or even your pets, could potentially fail.
Also, if you decided to exclude any of your relatives from your Will, you may risk them benefitting from your estate if your Will cannot be found.
• Will storage
Very often life gets in the way, and we put things to the back of our minds, including where we stored our Will.
There is also the risk of your Will being damaged when being stored at home. By registering your Will, your loved ones could carry out a Will search and contact the firm where it was drafted to obtain the original.
Your Will and its contents remain confidential when you register with the National Will Register. They will issue a certificate of registration to confirm that a Will exists and has been registered, but will not disclose the contents of the Will, unlike someone obtaining a copy.
• Peace of mind
Registering your Will allows you to ensure that it is traceable through life events such as moving house, passage of time, changes in family circumstances and even damage. This can give you peace of mind that your loved ones will be able to locate your Will during an already upsetting time after you pass.
Registering your Will
If you wish to ensure that your loved ones are protected and would like to register your Will, we would be more than happy to do this on your behalf.
How can we help?
Here at Avery Walters, our Private Client specialists offer free initial, no obligation meetings to discuss your wishes and advise you upon the best options to protect your assets and loved ones when you pass.
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