A Will does not take effect until death and can usually be changed or revoked at any time. A Will can be revoked by the person making the Will, by destroying it.
It is a natural assumption that because a Will is written it will be found upon death. This is not always the case.
When a Will (which was known to be in the deceased person’s possession) cannot be found upon their death it raises the question: has it been lost or destroyed?
Typically, in these circumstances there is a presumption that the Will has been destroyed with the intention to revoke it. However, in some circumstances evidence of the person’s intentions can be put forward and accepted in place of the Will.
For example, if there had been a house fire that destroyed the Will, and there was evidence of its remaining contents. Where a Will cannot be located, it is up to those seeking to benefit under the lost Will to prove that the person did not intend to revoke it.
In 45% of the searches carried out directly by members of the public (as opposed to through their solicitor), a Will was found through a Certainty Will Search; the Law Society’s endorsed provider of a National Will Register and Will Search service.
But what about the rest?
Countless estates incorrectly distributed…
Recently, Lloyds Banking Group discovered thousands of Wills that they did not know they had, causing irrevocable disruption to hundreds of bereaved families as countless estates were incorrectly distributed.
The slip-up left Lloyds desperately trying to put right their huge mistake by reuniting approximately 9,000 families with their loved one’s Wills. Lloyds confirmed that the number of customers impacted was in the “low hundreds”, but the issue has thrown up huge concerns for the sector.
Families were faced with the fact that substantial amounts of money and various other assets had potentially been bequeathed to the wrong beneficiaries.
Due to their disastrous error, Lloyds are having to painstakingly unravel old bequests to make sure that the assets were distributed correctly.
Lloyds bank has since promised the customers, who suffered detriment from the inheritance upheaval, that they will be ‘fully compensated’. They will do this by covering any legal costs incurred and those beneficiaries who wrongly received money and assets will not be forced to give it back.
Many Law firms and Will Writers who use a ‘Will Bank’ to store the vital documents, could easily be found in a similar situation. Unable to constantly monitor the mortality of all clients, the process of ensuring the document is repatriated with the family, beneficiary or executor upon death, becomes a very difficult process.
Record where your Will is and other wishes!
My Last Request gives you the opportunity to detail your exact funeral wishes without the difficultly of discussing it with your family; something we all may find hard to do.
As well as recording your funeral wishes you will also be able to store photos and any personal video messages for your family and friends.
You can also include information about the location of your original Will, and any important financial information (pensions, shares etc). Detail a list of contacts and organisations that you would like to be notified when you pass away, and any required action to be taken.
By recording your wishes on My Last Request you will have the peace of mind that your wishes will be known and honoured.
In addition, if your funeral plans, burial wishes or general preferences change over time, you can update them (as many times as you like). Simply log on to your My Last Request account. Unlike amending your Will, there are no costs for making amendments.
My Last Request will give you peace of mind and ensure all your personal wishes and important information is stored in one, safe place.
Other Useful Information…
Over eight million Wills are now within the Certainty registration system. Will registration helps ensure that your Will can be found quickly and easily when you have passed on. Read more
Certainty Will Search not only searches for registered Wills but also nationally for Wills that have not been registered to help prevent an old Will being used to distribute the estate or when you are unsure if a Will was written. Read more