November 20, 2019 | Estate Administration, Wills

Last month, the Lloyds Banking Group was forced to apologise for failing to return the Wills of thousands of deceased customers to their families.

The Consequences of Lloyds Safe Custody Error

As reported by the Financial Times, it understood that the bank recently discovered some 9,000 Wills of deceased customers lingering in their archives. Having failed to trace the Wills upon being notified of the death, Lloyds was left to reunite the paperwork with the unsuspecting families who had potentially long since settled their loved one’s affairs.

Thankfully Lloyds has confirmed that in 90% of cases, the Wills was superseded, estate distributed based on copy Wills or per the deceased’s wishes despite the lost document. However, the safe custody error may still have caused hundreds of estates of Lloyds customers to be incorrectly distributed. In such cases, the families are likely to need specialist advice on recovering improperly distributed assets.

Lloyds has pledged to correct its mistake by offering compensation to those affected and will be investigating each case individually.

How can I avoid this happening to my estate?

The incident serves as a timely reminder for us all to keep our families updated on the whereabouts of our Will. Ensuring that your Will is stored safely is as important as signing the document itself. This is because your executors will need to prove your original Will to obtain a Grant of Probate on your death.

What are the risks of a lost Will?

If the worst should happen and your Will is lost, you will be presumed to have purposefully revoked the document. This means that, unless you prepare a new Will, your estate will be governed by the rules of intestacy.

As for some families affected by the Lloyds safe custody error, your estate could be distributed incorrectly, leaving your loved ones to miss out.

If you would like to discuss preparing a new Will or safe storage, please click here for our contact details or visit our Will page.

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