Do you remember when computers first arrived and people said we were moving towards a paperless society?
When Colin's Dad died last year his house was left jointly to Colin, his sister and brother (who actually lives in the house and was left the main share and is buying out the other two shares). Obviously Col passing away has complicated things but what caused another worry was the solicitor saying they hadn't got the deeds to the house and the deeds certainly weren't among the paperwork left by Father in Law either.
That rather threw everyone into a bit of a panic!
The house hadn't changed hands since Col's Dad inherited it from His Mother way back in the 1970's and hadn't been registered with the Land Registry so the deeds were the only thing to prove who owned it. Very Luckily there was a letter among Father-in-Laws paperwork from the solicitor and dated mid 1980s that said they had added the information about the purchase of a small strip of the field behind the house to the deeds IN THEIR KEEPING.
Just to add to the fun the solicitors had moved premises from one part of town to another!
Sister in law spent ages sorting through papers again just in case and finally after a couple of weeks there was a call from the solicitors to say they had found the deeds. Filed under the wrong name! Phew.
I've now got to go into the solicitors with Col's will (on paper)to prove Colin left everything to me, plus his death certificate (paper) and ID for me (More paper) and our marriage certificate(another bit of paper). I'll make sure they take Paper photo-copies and give the Paper originals straight back to me!
The moral of this tale.............. in this "paperless age"...............
Keep every bit of paper to do with anything that proves who owns anything and for goodness sake make a will!
Apologies............I forgot to say thank you for all the comments about getting back to swimming. I would like to go twice a week if I can once I get past blinkin' dentist appointments and the company coming to swap the bath for a shower (and then more work later).
Over here (New Zealand) lots of documents have to be 'certified copies' which means signed by a JP or lawyer to prove that they are accurate copies of the original. Having the necessary pieces of paper becomes a bit of a nightmare doesn't it. We've "done" the wills/lawyers/inheritance stuff, and the only one who was simple was an elderly spinster aunt who had everything in folders and labelled. Did we ever heap blessings on her departed head! Even things like finding out where money was deposited is a problem if the paper trail is lost.ReplyDelete
Message to all blogging souls - check your will, and make sure the right people know where to find everything....
Very good advice.Delete
I so understand where you are coming from in this paperless world there seems to be twice as much paper as before. The deeds to our house were delivered from the mortgage lender by recorded delivery which we had to pay for and where did we find them? in the front hedge not the letterbox!!!!ReplyDelete
In the hedge! How strange. Good thing they weren't soaking wet from rain!Delete
I have experience of missing deeds that caused untold misery for me and my brothers five years ago. Our farm deeds were missing when we came to sell the farm. Beginning of a nightmare. I had always known they were held by the bank. I had to deal with a call centre in Birmingham. I was in tears many times on the phone. I had letters confirming that the bank had the deeds but they would admit nothing. They would not release to me where their deeds office was -my brother had suggested that we attend the deeds office personally and not leave until we got our deeds back. We missed completion deadline after completion deadline. Fortunately our buyer held on. We were given squatters rights by the Land Registry but you can't sell a farm with the seller only having squatters rights. I aged over night. We all did. We squabbled. One brother loved to apportion blame. Our solicitor said she would build our title from what paperwork we had. Fortunately my mother never threw anything away. But they were only letters of course. The solicitor set about the task. Meantime the bank sent us a cheque for £500 as compensation! Not enough considering the land value and our stress. We were now 8 months on from our first completion date. Then two days before Christmas out of the blue I had a call from the solicitor to say that a parcel had arrived on her desk via DHL from the bank, our deeds! no explanation, no letter, no apology, We completed the sale on Christmas Eve. The buyer was by now needless to say getting a bit tetchy. I never heard a word from the bank, nor did they respond to any letters from the solicitor.ReplyDelete
My parents lodged their deeds and wills with their solicitor when myself and my sister were children. Two years before he died my father asked what he could do to make things easier for me to sort out if anything happened to him or my mother. I said that he could check if his solicitors still had all the relevant paperwork. To cut a long story short, the original solicitors had gone out of business and the solicitors that had bought them out denied all knowledge. The storage facility had no record of them holding the files. My mother still had the original receipt for the deeds, along with some paperwork from when they had bought the house, so a third firm of solicitors built a new title and lodged it with the land registry. The paperwork came through a day before my father died. In the interval he had become too ill to make a new will, so we then had to apply for letters of administration (the paperwork of which became lost, but that's another story!) The cost was not great, but the stress was enormous. My advice to anyone would be to keep your own paperwork close at hand and make sure your heirs know exactly where it is. TracyDelete
Thank you to both Rachel and Tracy for sharing their stories. Giving copies to children is something I hadn't thought of, but will nowDelete
Glad to be of help, Sue. If you do that make sure it is a proper signed copy. We had a file photocopy of Dad's will, but it wasn't signed, so wasn't legally valid. Even if it had been a photocopy of the signed original it still wouldn't have been! Only a copy actually signed by the person and their witnesses is. TracyDelete
Computers make more paper than ever, once you see an IT manager printing emails, you know how the land lays. We have a document drawer, with loads of files on everything necessary, we keep them up to date. We have given a copy of each of wills to my youngest daughter and hubbys youngest son, they are our executors, the oldest daughter and son would argue with each other. When my brother passed suddenly last year, we were thrown into a whirlwind, he had no will and it took ages to sort. The system is very rigid and unyielding.ReplyDelete
Making a will certainly makes everything more straightforwardDelete
I was looking forward to receiving our deeds when we paid our mortgage off when we were in Wales. It was an old house and would have led an interesting 'life'. However, what we received was a piece of paper from the Land Registry to say we now own the house or words to that effect. I don't feel convinced that this is official enough, but we did sell that house in order to buy this one, so it must be ok. It's just me I expect.ReplyDelete
We had the deeds to the smallholding going back to when it was just an empty field, part of a large estate, gradually sold off after the warDelete
Here they date back to the 1880s but without much detail and part of the cottage is older than that
sage advice. I've had a will since I was pregnant with Violet, Bill and I trotted off and got everything sorted. It's a depressing thought, but something that really should be done. xReplyDelete
I need to make a new one now, another thing to organiseDelete
Yes, don't let dislike of the prospect of death deter anyone from preparing fully for it. I am amazed that there are still properties (houses) that are not on the Land Registry. I hope that "the cottage at the end of the lane" is so registered. RoderickReplyDelete
The cottage is registered now but wasn't before it was sold to us. If a property hasn't changed hands since 1991 then they probably are not registered.Delete
Your story is good advice for all of us to get our affairs in order. I'm glad you're getting your things all settled. I'm so glad you enjoyed your swimming, I sure do love my 3 days a week in the big clear pool. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)ReplyDelete
I hope to keep going regularlyDelete
Even with the computer age there's a need to keep a paper copy of important emails. Glad it worked out in the end with your father-in-law's house deed! Sigh of relief!ReplyDelete
Yes we were glad to hear the deeds had been found so things could proceedDelete
Sue the farmer's affairs are only just being wound up completely fifteen months after his death - fifteen months of great stress for me I might add. Doing my blog has been one of the things to keep me sane.ReplyDelete
Blogging is keeping me busy so I always have something to think about, It's a great help to me tooDelete
I am preparing to file for retirement and you'd be amazed at the amount of paperwork that is involved and the paper copies of everything that I need to turn in! Some of the forms are available to download online, but they need to be printed and paper documents must be submitted!ReplyDelete
I last updated my Will when I was diagnosed with cancer, almost 3 years ago. My daughter knows where I keep a copy, but I think giving her a copy is also a very good idea!
I anticipate a nightmare when my mother dies. My siblings are estranged from us, and have been for many years. She doesn't want them to inherit anything, but refuses to discuss her will, whether it has been made, witnessed etc. She just insists they won't be entitled to anything, and I know that they will. I know that I am going to be left with a real mess to sort out, and it angers and saddens me that I mean so little that she won't reassure me that she has put her affairs in order. I don't care if she leaves everything to the dogs' home, as long as it's straightforward.ReplyDelete
This post has reminded me that we've a lot to do in the paperwork area! Very glad that you have gotten back into swimming after farewelling your Col. I find that water is such a calming thing whether it be walking by a lake or a river or swimming in the sea or a pool. Meg XxReplyDelete
I went to reregister my moms car this past week. I took her death certificate and my stepdad's death certificate, because in checking things over for the transfer...she had never removed my stepdad's name.He'd been dead over 10 years. So now it's properly registered and changed insurances. As you said pieces of paper matter....though I have no idea in the world if we have our marriage license around here.ReplyDelete
I am just in the process of remaking my will. The old one is very old and I was shocked when I read through it to realise how much has changed and how much in it no longer reflects my wishes in any way. Even if you have a will, it needs regular revisiting to make sure it is up to date.ReplyDelete
Sue, I was away last week and a bit out of reach, thanks to losing my laptop power cable thingy. I've just caught up with what I have missed and send you love. xxx
My friend's partner of 20+ years was killed by a dangerous driver and in making her compensation claim she had to provide household bills for the previous 7 years. She was able to do that because she had kept all the pieces of paper. I now ensure that I keep paper bills for 7 years.ReplyDelete
Sending you hugs, Sue. x
We had the problem of the solicitors going out of business and no one knowing where the responsibility lay or the paperwork was. I had to be a detective to find him; the people as the Law Society did not want to know and the solicitor "clan" wanted money first, long before offering to help reveal one of their own for a "bad 'un". We should make a will but all trust in legal people is gone.ReplyDelete
I definately empathise: Since my dad died 5 years ago, I have not been able to claim his life insurance payout because his deceased sister was named as a co-signatory on the policy, signed in 1949! I need her death certificate but she lived/died abroad and it's nowhere to be found. I even offered to send the insurance company a photo of her gravestone!ReplyDelete
When my father died some years ago, I helped my mother apply for veteran's benefits due her (he had been in the USAF for over 30 years). After sending in multiple copies of their marriage certificate (which was a huge, beautiful, hand-painted document), making countless phone calls, etc., each time, they claimed they had not been received it, which meant continual delays in getting the benefits. Luckily I lived within driving distance of Washington DC, so one day I trekked up to the Veteran's Administration carrying the certificate and the rest of the paperwork. The clerk looked at everything and said in a bored voice, "Leave it here, we'll send it back". I said, "No, actually, you folks have already lost three copies, so the two of us are going to go to your copy machine right now and you are going to make the copies and then sign a document for me verifying that you (the VA) have received everything." She was taken aback, but as I would not budge from in front of her, she reluctantly did as I asked. My mother got her benefits the next month. So yes, it takes paperwork and persistence.ReplyDelete
Best of luck with it all.
Insurance companies are well known for making things too hard so you will give up,go away and not persevere with your claim ....then they get to keep the money.ReplyDelete
Gillian....Keep at it, make copies, get documents witnessed and any thing posted should be registered post so it has to be signed for by recipient.
Lowest of the low....causing stress and anxiety and benefiting from peoples misery.
Hi Sue, so nice to see you are enjoying your swimming.ReplyDelete
I hope you will give some thought to having one of those shower heads that slide up and down and come off the wall if you need to clean your feet or make hair washing easy, they are also great for washing the little people when they come to stay. I have one in my new shower and find it very useful.
Thank you for the reminder to get all the paperwork in order ,up to date and easy to find.....next job on the list.
Solicitor had a nice bit of income sorting out my parents estate, no property transfer, no final tax return etc.and an executor who did nothing for 5 years.
Fortunately, for the past 25 years or so, all house purchases are now registered automatically with Land Registery but yes, paperwork is so important. I am always stressing to my children the importance of keeping P60s which are issued to workers at the end of each tax year.ReplyDelete