Will writing is one of the most important things you can do when thinking about your end-of-life admin and how to protect and pass on your assets and responsibilities. Will writing not only involves stating on paper how you want any money, property, business assets etc., distributed. The document can also lay out how any children, dependents or pets should be cared or after your death. So, it is vital that your Will is stored correctly and looked after properly until it needs to be opened and read after your death.
After the Will writing has been done – what next?
First of all, make sure that you actually have a copy of your Will. If the Will writing was done by a solicitor or other third party, they may have neglected to let you have your own copy. This is very important, as you need to be able to access your Will in case you need to refer to it, show it to someone else or make revisions or additions to its contents.
Where can you store your Will after Will writing is complete?
You can store your Will as a paper document, electronically or both. Paper copies can be kept by your solicitor, or bank in secure storage such as a locked safety deposit box. You will need to let your next of kin know where to find it when the time comes that it is needed. You may also need to provide passwords, access codes or other information to allow access to the safe or box to retrieve it. Likewise, you can invest in a safe to keep at home. Will writing services can recommend suitable brands to investigate.
Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, electronic storage options are wider than ever. This has several benefits over paper-based copies, including easier storage and encryption (passwords etc.) to keep it confidential. Electronic documents are also faster and easier to share with those who need to see and activate their contents. The UK Will Registry Office offers electronic storage facilities for a small fee, as do many solicitors and Will writing services.
Who should you involve in Will writing and storage decisions?
In order to keep your Will safe and uncompromised until it is needed, you should think carefully about who to involve in the process. Will writing can be done by a professional, or by the person themselves using a kit or simply by setting out their wishes on a computer or word processor – or by hand. The Will writing must be doner correctly, however, with formal witnesses. This is to confirm both its authenticity and the free will and mental capacity of the person writing it.
Once the Will writing is done, it can be helpful to involve a trusted family member or friend – perhaps the person or people chosen to be your executors – in deciding where to store it, how many copies to make of it etc. It can be helpful for your executors to have their own copy of the Will so that they can start processing things straight away when the time comes.
What else can be added to the Will writing process?
If you have express wishes about certain sentimental or valuable items, or want to stipulate very precise instructions for the care of a pet, use of a property etc., then you can add a letter of wishes to the Will writing process. There is no formal layout required. You should write clearly and concisely, setting out what you want t o happen and who should be involved. This letter is then printed out, or saved electronically and stored with the Will. You should tell the executor of its presence so that they know to look for it and carry out the wishes it contains.
Another common type of document to store with a Will is one or more personal letters to loved ones. Such letters contain final messages, fond memories and messages to pass on for future reflection. Again, these can be saved electronically or printed out and folded into envelopes addressed to the recipient. All of these important documents are stored along with the Will, using whichever method you prefer.