Storage and Amendments
Legal Document Storage
The Goodwills storage and amendment service provides two very important benefits after you have made your Will.
- Secure storage: ensuring that your Will is kept safe. We are also able to store other documents such as Lasting Powers of Attorney and title deeds for properties.
- Amendments Service: ensuring that your Will is kept up to date, simply and without having to pay every time you need to make an amendment.
Goodwills can store your Will, Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) and Title Deeds and letters of wishes in a secure, fireproof and floodproof facility. Access to your documents can only be provided to you with identification, or to your executors with identification and a certified copy of your death certificate.
What if something happens to your Will?
If your Will gets defaced, damaged, destroyed, lost or stolen, it will be deemed that you have died without a Will, and your estate will be distributed in accordance with the laws of intestacy. These laws mean that unmarried partners, step children, charities and friends will not benefit at all, and everyone else might not benefit as you intended.
Even if there are copies of your Will – these will not be able to be used, because the court could not determine whether you wanted your Will to be valid, and that you might have had the original destroyed on purpose.
If you are still alive, and for whatever reason, you no longer have your Will, or it is defaced or damaged then you can make a new Will, assuming you have mental capacity. This will be at additional expense if you have not stored your Will appropriately.
What if something happens to your LPA?
If your Lasting Power of Attorney is defaced, damaged, destroyed, lost or stolen, and the document has not yet been registered with the Office of the Public Guardian then new documents will need to be produced, starting from scratch.
If the donor of an LPA has lost capacity, then the Attorney will have to apply for Deputyship with the Court of Protection. The application process is expensive, onerous, and time consuming. The application may not be successful, and if it is, the reporting required is much more strenuous than what an attorney named in an LPA would be asked to do.
Goodwills also include an amendment service where you can update your Will without additional cost. You can change executors, beneficiaries, gifts, guardians, funeral wishes, addresses and more. If family or your personal circumstances change you can remove people, add people, revise gifts as you accumulate or spend assets.
All you need to do is write to Goodwills stating the changes you wish to make, and they will send new documents for you to sign, get witnessed and return. If you require a home visit or advice, then there may be a charge for this, but the cost of creating the document will be provided at no charge.
This will not apply to additional services, for example we will not be able to add a Trust to the will or other complex clauses which were not already paid for.
Many people do not make changes to their Will when they should because of the perceived hassle, emotional strain and additional cost. This means that many people die without an up to date Will, and the estate is not distributed how they would have liked.
Storage and Amendment Frequently Asked Questions
How much does it cost to store my documents?
We charge an annual fee which equates to around the cost of one cup of coffee a month, per person.
What if the documents get defaced, damaged, destroyed, lost or stolen whilst in your care?
It is extremely unlikely, but not impossible.
If the testator (the person who the Will is for) is still alive and has mental capacity, then we will create new documents without charge.
If the testator has died, or lost capacity, we are insured against this to ensure your beneficiaries are not disadvantaged. We will also provide probate services and a deed of variation if required without charging our professional fee.
Can my title deeds or Lasting Power of Attorney be amended for Free?
No. The amendment service only applies to Wills.
If I get married, will you make my Will again?
If your Will is revoked because of Marriage, we can make you a new Will, without charge with changes if applicable, however if you require new trusts or new complex clauses then you will need to pay for these.
Can my spouse or any other person get hold of my Will or other documents whilst I am still alive?
Only you can retrieve your Will whilst you are still alive. Your attorney can retrieve your LPA from storage if you have lost mental capacity.
How will my executors know where my Will is stored?
You will be provided with a letter confirming we are storing your Will and two cards with our information on and your reference number. You could pass one card to your Executor, and keep another on you, for example in your purse or wallet, or somewhere safe but easily found.
You will have the peace of mind that no-one can retrieve your documents apart from you whilst you are still alive.
Can I take my documents out of secure storage?
Yes. We do not charge a fee for you to do this. We would require a signed letter, personal identification such as a driving licence or passport, and two forms of address identification (from different providers) dated within the last three months.
Can I store my documents with Goodwills if you did not make my Will?
You can, however if you wish to be able to use the amendment service then the fee you pay may be higher in the first year. Please contact us for further information.