Lloyds Bank has recently discovered thousands of Wills held by them in their “Safe Custody” service which could potentially result in difficult situations for many families who have administered estates with what could potentially be the wrong Will. The Safe Custody service operated by Lloyds closed to new customers in 2011, but it has recently been reported that Lloyds have discovered around 9,000 Wills held by them which were not returned to the families of deceased customers.
The bank says that in the majority of cases the estate was not affected as the customer had either made a new Will or a copy was held elsewhere. In other cases, the estate had been distributed in accordance with the laws of intestacy but this matched the wishes of the deceased. It is however anticipated that there are hundreds of estates that have been distributed to the wrong beneficiaries.
The bank has since promised that it will fully compensate those affected.
It is not advisable to store your Will in a bank safety deposit box because it may not be easily accessible to the Executor after your death, as this story highlights.
Above all, it is important to tell your loved ones where your Will can be found. Otherwise, your estate may be treated as if you never had one!