National Will Register offering to help people protect their assets by keeping permanent record of their last will and testament for free
The National Will Register is offering to help people protect their assets by keeping a permanent record of their last will and testament for free.
The Law Society-endorsed organisation currently stores the whereabouts of nine million wills that can then be accessed by a solicitor upon someone’s death.
Usually it charges a registration fee of £30 to hold this information but until June 4 it will provide its service for free. There are no other charges. The offer can be taken up not just by those who are concerned that their existing will might get lost in all their paperwork at home. It might also act as an incentive for those who have yet to write a will.
Planning ahead: Many among the two thirds of people who die without a will – known as dying intestate – could leave loved ones with a nasty surprise
Many among the two thirds of people who die without a will – known as dying intestate – could leave loved ones with a nasty surprise.
Under intestacy rules, unmarried partners, friends and charities get nothing – only married or civil partners and some other close relatives inherit. Robert Brown, of the National Will Register, says: ‘Over the past year, in response to the coronavirus pandemic, many people have been reflecting on what they wish to do with their assets when they pass away.
‘Our offer provides an incentive to act for those who have not yet written a will – and to ensure an existing will can be accessed easily and acted upon immediately following a death.’
He adds: ‘Remember, even if a will is written it must be found – otherwise an estate is distributed under the rules of intestacy. This can leave those whom someone wanted to support with nothing.’
Writing a basic will is straightforward. Cut-price do-it-yourself last will and testament kits can be purchased on the high street from as little as £20.
But if a family situation is complicated – perhaps if there are children through a previous relationship – then this option is not advisable. Illegible handwriting or a technicality, such as a witness not actually seeing the will being signed, can invalidate a will. Couples entering into a second marriage must write a new will, particularly when there are children from the previous marriage. This is because any current will could be revoked by a second marriage.
The Law Society has details of more than 5,000 solicitors that can offer help in writing your will. Visit solicitors.lawsociety.org.uk.
Costs start from about £150, depending upon the complexity of the will.