Duplicate Will

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Duplicate Will

Postby j478 » Sun Jan 16, 2011 5:41 pm

"Keep your will in a safe place" Can I make say 3 copies, all original documents with signature and witnessed, and keep them in different places?
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Re: Duplicate Will

Postby Mattylad » Sun Jan 16, 2011 11:56 pm

While a good idea, is that legal?
Any comments I give here are my own opinions, for legal advise check with a qualified solicitor.
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Re: Duplicate Will

Postby gardenlaw » Mon Jan 17, 2011 9:38 am

Interesting. Only one Will can be the original and only one will can be sworn by the Executors as being the original for probate. Would this cause any conflict between those who found each one and if it did would it matter as they are all identical and dated the same day? It could as one was signed first in time so is the original yet someone may wish to use a later identical one.
It is possible to swear a photocopy if the witnesses do oaths to confirm it is their signature on the copy.
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Re: Duplicate Will

Postby j478 » Mon Jan 17, 2011 12:22 pm

Thank you both for your responses.

By the time the issue comes to light I expect to be beyond reach of the law, but I do want it to be legally effective.

My objective is to ensure that my executors have as simple a task as possible, and that includes avoiding the risk of a "lost" will. If they've fallen out to the point of disputing who has the "original" out of identical documents they deserve whatever they get. A photo-copy means tracking down the original witnesses and getting them to a commissioner for oaths, which is tedious.

If the law is picky about what constitutes an "original", how about I put a time on each one, two minutes apart. The latest one supersedes the previous, but if it is not found the earlier is effective. Does that work?
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Re: Duplicate Will

Postby Mojisola » Mon Jan 17, 2011 1:24 pm

You could store the original with the courts - http://www.hmcourts-service.gov.uk/cms/1218.htm

That should be as safe as anywhere.
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Re: Duplicate Will

Postby gardenlaw » Mon Jan 17, 2011 4:45 pm

Good idea to store somewhere safe. Let your Executors know where it is.
marking the wills 2 minutes apart means how will anyone know which is the last will and if there is not an alteration in one of the sequence? Not a good idea. Should only have one will in a secure and known place.
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Re: Duplicate Will

Postby j478 » Mon Jan 17, 2011 8:25 pm

Thank you both.

I'm getting the message "don't do it" but I'm now intrigued as to why not.

a) Am I right to think that if my latest will, with it's "revoke previous wills" cannot be found, then an earlier will which was found would take effect?
b) Is that still true if a prospective executor had knowledge (or a suspicion, but no evidence) that a later will had been signed?

If a) is yes, my scheme works, because whichever is the last timed copy found is valid.
If b) is no, I just have to ensure my executors don't know how many wills I signed on that day.

Afterthought: if answer a) is yes, that makes the advice to destroy previous wills a bit iffy. If the latest is found no problem. If the latest is lost an earlier one is more likely to be "useful" than being intestate.

Perhaps I shouldn't have started this?
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Re: Duplicate Will

Postby arborlad » Mon Jan 17, 2011 8:30 pm

I'm not sure what you are trying to achieve, but if timing them is a bad idea, what about numbering them:

1 of 3 together with location of 2&3
2 of 3 together with location of 1&3
3 of 3 together with location of 1&2
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Re: Duplicate Will

Postby j478 » Tue Jan 18, 2011 1:02 pm

Sorry Arborlad, that makes it worse, if no 3 is lost, no 2 is not the last, and says so itself. (see post 3 above by Gardenlaw)

The objective is to ensure that if the will is "lost" something else takes effect, preferably having the same effect as the lost will.
It started out as a not very important "what-if", but seems to be altogether more difficult than I had envisaged.
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Re: Duplicate Will

Postby j478 » Thu Jan 20, 2011 2:43 pm

Thanks for your comments. I'll just try to keep it safe, but the issue does seem not entire satisfactory.

I'm signing off, but I don't see any device to mark this as "closed"

Thanks again
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Re: Duplicate Will

Postby despair » Thu Jan 20, 2011 6:29 pm

I always understood that the Solicitors who prepare the will keep a copy plus you can have the fact of a will lodged with probate registry /death registry /Somerset House
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Re: Duplicate Will

Postby Conveyancer » Thu Jan 27, 2011 3:18 pm

I have suggested elsewhere that no one should prepare their own will, but get a solicitor to do it.

If you have got your solicitor to prepare a will you should leave it in his custody. If you do that it is unlikely to get lost or, worse, tampered with or destroyed.

When I prepared a will I would give the client a copy marked "Original in the custody of Messrs xxxx". That lets anyone who finds it after your death know where the original can be found.
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