There are certain circumstances whereby the location and security of a Will are crucial. When your spouse is NOT the biological parent of your children is a very important example of this.
It is increasingly common that people who remarry or cohabit after their previous spouse has died, wish for their new spouse or partner to live in their house after their death and then pass that property onto their biological children after the death of their more recent spouse (who is NOT the biological parent of their children). This can be arranged by having a suitable valid Will stipulating such requirements.
Provided that the Will is secure and remains intact, then all parties are protected. However, it is sadly sometimes the case that one or more surviving parties understand their rights under the law and Wills go “missing” as a result.
Under the law, if a Will cannot be found, then the default resulting situation is that there is no longer a valid Will. This means that a new spouse shall automatically inherit all personal belongings of the deceased and the first £270,000 of estate value. That new spouse shall also inherit 50% of any estate value greater than £270,000. This would mean that a vast share of the deceased’s estate would never pass to their biological children.
When you have a partner to whom you are not married poses the opposite problem. If a valid Will cannot be located, then biological children would automatically directly inherit under the law, leaving a surviving partner without a given right to continue to live in the deceased’s property unless they co-own it.
Therefore, unless a situation is very simple (e.g. the entire estate passes to a surviving spouse upon first death and entirely to children upon second death), it is important for the security of a Will that it is safely and securely stored in an independent location until it can be officially administered by its Executors. Such Executors then have a legal duty to administer the Will accurately and responsibly.
TRF securely stores Will documents for many people. Please visit trfwills.co.uk for further details.