Once you have signed your Will, you might think that everything is done and dusted. Actually you have just taken the first step, even though it has taken much time and effort to get things just as you want them. It is very important now that the right person at the right time knows exactly where your Will is kept.
It may surprise you to find out that a lot of perfectly valid Wills cannot be found and so are not presented for probate. There are, these days, some good commercial storage facilities available. Some are better than others, and a good storage company, usually part of a larger organisation concerned with Will writing or Probate and Estate work, will have arranged a system for telling the relevant people where your Will is stored.
As well as telling executors and guardians where to find the Will, a good system will keep in touch with the Testator and send an annual reminder letter just to jog their memory and take care of any changes that might be needed if circumstances have changed since the Will was signed. The level of service varies a lot, and not all companies who store Wills will do any or all of the above. It is true that they might not charge, but then they are under no obligation to provide a service that goes beyond safe keeping of the document. In any case, Wills might simply be filed away on a shelf and not in a fireproof safe.
There are good reasons to be concerned about the safety of a Will. If it is stored at home then anything could happen. Fire could destroy it; someone with a grievance might deface it; even little people with a set of crayons might be looking for an interesting piece of paper upon which to practice their colouring-in skills! You might even be tempted to add to the Will, forgetting that Wills are revoked by marks made after they have been signed, or even by the mark of a paper clip or staple. The Will might also simply get lost.
We recommend the Phoenix Wills storage system (‘Willsafe’) which takes care of everything and relieves you of the responsibility of looking after your Will. For a small annual fee, all the back-up processes will be applied so that the relevant people are notified on an annual basis, and you keep in touch with what is, after all, the most important document you will ever sign.