Storing your will

There are no legal requirements regarding the storing of wills and people choose one of several usual locations. You need to make sure that the location is safe, secure and the will can’t be damaged.

Whichever location you choose to store your will it is essential that you inform your executors. To be absolutely sure you should not only tell them where it is but also write the location down on a piece of paper. The last thing you want following your death is a frantic search by your executors and family for a missing will.

Most importantly, make sure that you choose a location that is accessible without a grant of probate. The will is required to make the application to the probate registry and if your executors are unable to make the application the whole process will become very tortuous. For this reason avoid at all costs places like a bank safe deposit box.

At home

You can store your will at home in a safe or other secure fireproof location with your other personal papers. You need to ensure that there is no unwanted access and that it isn’t accidentally damaged.

With a solicitor

A solicitor will usually store your will for free if they drafted it for you. You should check that there isn’t a storage fee. You should also ask for a copy of the will to keep with your personal papers at home.

Solicitors will also store a will that they didn’t draft but may charge you a fee for doing so.
A problem can arise if a solicitor ceases trading as your will may be difficult to locate when needed.

At a bank

Most banks will offer their customers secure storage facilities for a small fee of around £10-25 per year.

You need to check your bank’s requirements regarding access after your death to ensure that your executors can recover your will on the production of the death certificate and proper identification.

At the probate registry

The principal probate registry will store your will for a flat fee (currently £20). You simply take your will to any one of the probate registries where they will ask you complete some basic details on an envelope including the names of your executors (you can also arrange to send your will to the probate registry if easier).

On payment of the storage fee they will arrange for your will to be stored at the principal registry of the family division of the high court. You will then receive a certificate of deposit. Sometimes, your certificate of deposit will be sent to you by post within two weeks.

The principal probate registry is located at the following address in London: The Probate Department, The Principal Registry of the Family Division, First Avenue House, 42-49 High Holborn, London, WC1V 6NP.

Please note

The information which we provide through Lasting Post is in outline for information or educational purposes only. The information is not a substitute for the professional judgment of a solicitor, accountant or other professional adviser. We cannot guarantee that information provided by Lasting Post will meet your individual needs, as this will very much depend on your individual circumstances. You should therefore use the information only as a starting point for your enquiries.