APS Legal Provide Will Registration for its Members and their Clients
Will registration is not a new or a unique idea. In fact there are many countries which require the existence of a Will to be recorded on a central register. There is, however, no such requirement in the United Kingdom.
Finding a Will in the aftermath of the death of a loved one is one of the many nightmares that people face every day. Was there a Will. If so, where is it? If a Will is found, can everyone be sure it is the latest version. Will registration goes a long way towards solving those issues by providing a service that provides a degree of certainty that an effective search has been made to determine the existence of a Will.
This is not only important to the family of the deceased, it is essential to any professional charged with the task of administering the estate who faces the increasing risk of a negligence claim if they have not taken adequate measures to establish the existence of a last Will.
In a recent study, the operators of the largest Will register in the UK back checked intestate estates. A Will search was performed on each estate to ascertain if a Will existed and if, therefore, the deceased had actually died intestate. The result was alarming. In 30% of cases the searches uncovered Wills! While this has deeply unsettling consequences for the beneficiaries of the Wills and the intestate beneficiaries, it raises serious business questions for those in the Willlwriting sector. How many Wills do you hold for people who might have already died? How many opportunities to provide estate administration services have you missed.
Will registration is not a new or unique idea and there have been many attempts by commercial organisations to create a register of this nature over the years, but few have been able to establish themselves in the market and most have failed. The difficulty has been that for the search to have any worth, it has needed to provide a reasonable prospect of returning an accurate response to a search request. That can only happen once a significant size of register has been built and that has proved to be something which takes a long time.
So, over the years, the management council of the Institute, whilst accepting the benefits of Will registration, has sat back and waited for a commercial provider of such a service to establish itself in the market place.
That has now happened and the Institute is delighted to announce that it has agreed to promote a Will registration service to its members which is provided by the National Will Register. It is widely recognised as the leading provider of Will Registration and Will Search services in the UK.
People who search the National Will Register have access to a search of millions of Wills and this number is increasing daily – at peak times a new Will is registered every two seconds, which is 14,588 Will registrations in a day. It is forecast that by the end of 2014 there will be nearly six million Wills on the register. The registration collects only a limited amount of data to help identify the testator with greater certainty.
For those undertaking estate administration work, the National Will Register provides a national Will search service which is linked to the Will register. This search accesses the many millions of Wills within the registers system. It also performs a national Will search of Wills that have not been registered but drawn up by one of the hundreds of law firms who are partners of the National Will Register. This service ensures that family and executors are united with a Will and has the benefit that a firm holding a Will knows that a client has died and has the opportunity to offer professional estate administration services.
To launch this new opportunity to Institute members, the National Will Register and APS Legal will be providing a substantial amount of free Will registrations that can be used for clients, both current and new. New registrations cost just £30 and members can choose to promote this service to their clients at list price, generating a useful additional income, free of charge if it helps to consolidate a deal or at a discount.
Will searches start from just £33 plus VAT. Where searches originate from the APS Lega website, a proportion of the search fee (which is a legitimate, low-cost executorship expense) is returned to the Institute.
If you would like to find out more about the opportunity of providing a free Will Registration service to your clients, simply contact The National Will Register.
If you provide an estate administration service and would like to start conducting a search of the register to establish whether you are using the correct Will to distribute assets, please visit the Institute's dedicated Will Registration and Will Search website: www.certainty.org.uk/apslegal/