Where Do I Keep My Will?

Once you have made your Will it should be kept somewhere safe. Moreover, it should be easily available on your death otherwise it might be thought to have been lost. If your Will cannot be found on your death then it is presumed to have been destroyed by you with the intention that it should no longer be operative. This, of course, would have the most disastrous effect with your property being distributed in a way completely contrary to your intentions and wishes. Most people prefer to leave their Will deposited at their bank. This means that it is safe, it is easily obtainable on your death and, perhaps most important for many people, no one else is entitled to look at your Will until after your death. Any Will or codicil may be deposited for safe custody at Somerset House (now closed) for a fee. Somerset House will send you an envelope in which to place your Will. Seal it and complete the information on the outside, giving your name and the details of the executors.

Then sign the outside of the sealed envelope in the presence of a witness or a probate registry officer. Keep a photocopy of your Will in case you wish to refer to its contents.

Either send the Will in the sealed envelope with a covering letter by registered post to the Record Keeper at Somerset House or take it by hand to any probate registry or sub-registry. You will be given an official certificate that the Will has been deposited and it is important that you should tell your executors that you have done this.

You will not be able to withdraw your Will without showing the certificate of deposit (which your executors will have to hand over in the event of your death – so let them know where you keep it). Naturally, no one else is allowed access to your Will. Similar arrangements exist in Northern Ireland.