Our clients are at the heart of everything we do, which is why Squiggle Consult has created a petition to make registering a Will (with either a public body or registration service) mandatory in England. We have experienced first-hand the stress that is caused to loved ones if a Will cannot be located. The fact that millions of individuals may have completed a Will to ensure that their wishes are indeed fulfilled, but they are unable to be located due to the lack of registration, shouldn’t be happening in today’s modern world.
Research conducted by The Independent revealed that there is an estimated £15 billion worth of unclaimed assets due to not being able to locate a Will. Under the ‘Ownerless Goods laws’, the majority of these unclaimed assets will be allocated to The Crown if a signed Will cannot be found. Around £48 million worth of property and estates owned by deceased individuals has been transferred to the state as a result of this.
Although more people are indeed creating Wills to ensure their wishes are carried out, the issue of a family being unable to find the Will when someone has passed away is becoming increasingly common. Many people are choosing now to create Wills from online templates and store them somewhere unknown to their loved ones. Alternatively, even if the individual in question makes a point of alerting their family to the location of the Will, it is likely that, if it is not needed for another several decades, the family will have forgotten where the Will was placed, or it has been moved over time.
One of the reasons for this issue is the uneasiness around bringing up the conversation with family. Research shows that a third of the UK population want to approach the topic with parents, but haven’t for fear of upsetting them. Ironically, the same proportion of parents share exactly the same fear around worrying their children. This lack of communication is evidently having an effect on a large amount of the population, with almost a quarter of citizens revealing that they are concerned they didn’t carry out the wishes of their loved ones correctly due to never having discussed it.
One of the key things that we want to gain from this petition is awareness of the simplicity and privacy in registering a Will; an individual can register their Will online for around £30, and they do not have to provide a copy of the document. All that is required is the location of the Will, the date it became valid, and the names of the executors. This easy registration means that after the death of a loved one, a family member can search on a Will registration website to find the location of your Will, avoiding a great deal of stress and upset.
We would be very grateful for your support by signing and sharing this petition: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/549757.
If you need help with your or a family member’s Will, or have any question about the petition, please ring us on 01233 65 97 96, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, head over to our website, https://www.squiggleconsult.co.uk, to book a consultation with someone in our experienced legal team.