What happens to Wills when a law firm closes?
What happens when a law firm goes out of business? Where is my Will stored? How do I retrieve my Will?
When you’ve taken the time to create a legally valid and comprehensive Will, it’s only natural to wonder what happens to it in the event of unforeseen circumstances, such as the closure of your law firm.
Where legal practices may close or merge over time, it’s essential to understand the steps taken to ensure the safety and accessibility of your important legal documents.
1. Notification of Closure and Involvement of the SRA
The first step in the process begins with the law firm itself. When a law firm decides to close its doors, it is legally obligated to inform its clients of the impending closure. This notification is typically sent via postal mail and includes details about the closure date and what clients should expect regarding their legal documents, including your Will.
In cases where the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) intervenes due to the closure of a law firm, intervention agents appointed by the SRA step in to manage the closure process. These agents are responsible for securing all client files, including Wills, to ensure that no document is lost or mishandled during the transition.
2. Document Retrieval and Secure Storage
Upon intervention, the appointed agents work diligently to retrieve all client files, including your Will, from storage, ensuring no document is left behind. They have a legal obligation to protect your confidential information and ensure its safe and secure storage.
3. Transfer to Another Law Firm
In many cases, when a law firm closes down and the SRA intervenes, they will arrange for the transfer of client files, including your Will, to another reputable law firm. This process is typically done to ensure that your legal documents remain safe and accessible to you and your appointed executor. The receiving law firm is responsible for the continued safe and secure storage of your Will.
4. Contact Information Update
To ensure a smooth transition, it’s crucial to ensure your contact information is up to date with your law firm. If you’ve moved or changed your contact details since creating your Will, inform the new law firm promptly. This ensures that they can reach out to you or your appointed executor when necessary.
5. Access to Your Will
While the law firm may change, your rights and access to your Will remain the same. You or your appointed executor should have no trouble accessing your Will when the need arises. If you have concerns or questions about accessing your documents, don’t hesitate to contact the new law firm for assistance.
How we can help
If you wrote your Will with a law firm and have learnt that it has now closed, please do get in touch and we can help you to try and retrieve the original version of your Will. We can even arrange to store your Will in our fireproof cabinet for you.
It is this original copy that is essential when dealing with the probate administration and ensuring your wishes are upheld.