Wills and original documents being taken apart for copying

We would be interested to know whether members are encountering problems through original documents being taken apart for scanning and copying when they are sent to insurance companies, banks and the like. We are dealing with an estate where the Investment Managers required sight of the will in connection with a life insurance policy trust. The clients (prior to engaging us) sent the original. When they received it back it was unstapled and held together by a paper clip. After we pointed out the problem to the client, they forwarded our email to the investment managers (one of the major players), who sent an unsigned letter stating that in the lockdown all post is being scanned in a central unit and the will would have been taken apart as part of that process. It remains to be seen whether the company will change its procedures as a result, but we have explained the difficulty this creates and have suggested that an additional charge of £250 is appropriate for the cost of additional work in explaining to the Probate Registry what has happened. The investment managers responded immediately and agreed to pay this additional cost. We would be interested to know whether, in this situation, members are preparing Affidavits of Plight and Condition or Statements of Truth. In this, we were proposing to prepare a statement of truth for the executor who sent the will to the insurance company as to the background, annexing a copy of the letter from the insurance company and also annexing a photocopy of the will taken before it was sent to the insurance company, so that the Registry can see it is the same document. We don’t anticipate any resistance from the Registry but from our research we are unclear whether the need for a formal affidavit has been temporarily or permanently replaced by a relaxed measure of accepting statements of truth instead. Our (very limited) knowledge of land registry procedures seem to indicate that in land registration matters statements of truth are commonly being accepted in place of formal affiidavits or stat decs.

**Michael McCabe
Galloways Accounting Trust Corporation Limited. **

I haven’t had a case where the original Will was given to an investment manager/ bank but I did recently have one where the client unbound the Will to enable her to photocopy it so that her siblings could each have a copy.
A statement of truth explaining the situation was accepted and as I understand it the change has been made permanent in November by the Non-Contentious Probate (Amendment) Rules 2020.