Storage of wills
When choosing a will writer, it's always advisable that you ask about storage of wills.
A will writing firm will usually offer to keep drafted wills in storage indefinitely, so that when the time comes for executors to seek out the details, the deceased's express wishes can be supplied to them without any problem.
Sadly, as with any industry, there are unscrupulous firms out there who may well go out of business before the wills are retrieved. What happens then?
Firstly, you should always do your research to ensure that the will writing firm you choose is well established and has an excellent reputation. Secondly, it should be a member of an organisation such as The Society of Will Writers. This self-regulating body offers a degree of protection, so that if one of its members acts unprofessionally, leaving a customer high and dry, the Society would at least pick up the pieces and rectify the situation.
Be wary of simply choosing the first will writing company that appears at the top of your online search. Ensure that its website includes valid testimonials and that it offers exceptional customer service. It's never wise to automatically choose the cheapest firm, either. Use your head and seek out the most reputable will writing services in the country – you could save time, money and anxiety in the long term.
Thousands of wills from World War soldiers have been made available to the public for the first time in almost a century.
Although unlikely to be of any value in a monetary sense, they will undoubtedly prove priceless to members of the soldiers’ families today.
During the First World War, the blank documents were often handed to soldiers facing embarkation, and in the years from 1914 to 1918 around 230,000 men and boys died during the terrible fighting.
The database of wills, dating back to the early part of the twentieth century, was established under instruction from Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) and is held in the UK.
The handwritten wills have been carefully scanned, with a small number even accompanied by personal letters which never made it back to loved ones.
Until now, the documents were only able to be accessed through official requests and were not released to beneficiaries, being classed as war records. They have been stored in sealed archive boxes since the end of the war.
Since having been digitally recorded, the wills are now stored in pH neutral boxes in sealed climate-controlled and fire-proof rooms, hopefully preventing these touching and historically valuable documents from ever being destroyed.
If you have a relative who died in active service during World War I and think they may have written such a will, please contact our specialist team.
A shock decision was taken by a judge recently regarding a woman who changed her will whilst suffering from dementia. Despite not having a solicitor present nor a medical examination, the deceased was later declared mentally fit enough for the will to be declared valid. Previously, the woman’s will had seen the majority of her estate left to her eldest son, who not only ran the family company, but who took his mother in and cared for her, for the last decade of her life. It was at her birthday party in 2005 – a party at which her eldest son wasn’t present; that the woman changed her will, despite suffering from mild to moderate dementia. This change saw all her three remaining children benefiting equally from her estate. Accusations of forgery and coercion were hurled both ways during this recent trial, even after three years of legal battles. However, in the end, the judge ruled that the elderly should be able to document their wishes in a will, even with an impaired mental capacity. This latest will therefore, was declared valid.
If you have a family member suffering from dementia or perhaps they have been diagnosed with an early onset of Alzheimers it is vital to act fast with regards to Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). We can provide the LPA for a fixed cost. Remember these things are always more expensive and troublesome if left.
Recent research from Saga Legal Solutions has revealed the startling statistics that over a third of over 50s have experienced a significant life change since drafting their will; but have not reviewed the document to ensure that it reflects any such changes, resulting in out of date wills.
According to Saga, just under half of those interviewed admitted that they only review their will on average every four years, with a staggering third, stating that they had never looked at it again, after having had it drafted.
With marriages, divorces, the birth of new grandchildren and the unstable economic climate all having a dramatic affect on many families, it is vital that everyone with a will should review it every couple of years. To neglect to do so is to run the risk of someone in your family losing out or disappointing someone close to you. Perhaps worse still, your money may go to someone undeserving after your death – all because you didn’t change your will accordingly.
The research also showed that just under half of the over 50s have a single will, just under a third have a mirror will and around 13% have a will in trust. One in ten respondents had no idea what sort of will had been prepared for them.