Tracking Wills On The Web - A World First
In what is believed to be a world-first, an Auckland lawyer has established a web-based directory enabling people to record details on the whereabouts of their last Will and Testament.
The site, www.willsindex.com allows lawyers and the public to register details of where a last Will and Testament is lodged, free of charge. Already it is being praised by legal professionals and its developer believes it will become the industry standard worldwide
The potential for multi-million-dollar lawsuits prompted Maurice Burney to come up with the idea of a directory that provides important information instantly and accurately without geographical boundaries.
"Today people are living with constantly changing circumstances. They may marry, divorce or move to another country, so keeping track of someone's last Will can be difficult."
This was highlighted in a recent case when Maurice was contacted for Will details by the siblings of an Auckland man he'd previously acted for. While Maurice was holding a Will for the deceased, he decided to make sure there was not another Will held elsewhere.
He put an advertisement in the Auckland Law Journal to no avail, "so, I advertised in the New Zealand Law Journal and to my amazement, got a reply. The man had made another Will while on one month's holiday in another city.
"As the man's lawyer, I could have been held personally responsible for his assets if I had distributed them contrary to his most recent Will, even though I had no idea it existed."
At the willsindex.com site, built by Rattleshack Solutions, people can enter their name, date of their Will, date and place of birth and where the Will is held. This is free of charge.
Lawyers must obtain client's consent before placing details on the site, but Maurice believes most people will appreciate the opportunity to avoid confusion.
A minimal charge applies for people seeking the information, although they can do a search on the name, at no cost, to ensure they have the right person.
"There is also an inquiry section for lawyers trying to track down a last will and an index of legal professionals who can provide legal advice and prepare Wills and Probate."
Maurice Burney is available for interviews and can be contacted by:
Phone, (09) 527 1311,
025 231 9481 or email,firstname.lastname@example.org