This week, Kings Court Trust Ltd announced it was to increase its retrieval fee from £7.50 per document to £25 per document.

For some strange reason a few people decided to attack the Society on its storage.

The Society has always been totally transparent about how we store, who stores it and what we charge, and for the past 18 years or so this has never been an issue with most members.

I’m not going to use this article to go over the benefits of using the Society’s storage, rather just to clarify a few myths that have been aired.

Who owns The National Will Archive?

About 16 years ago the Revenue gave the Society a choice: either (a) keep the storage under the Society but lose our VAT exemption status as storage was for profit; or (b) create a new company to manage the document storage facility and keep our VAT exemption status. We chose the latter. By taking storage and other services the Society offers out of the Society and creating a closely owned subsidiary meant membership fees and training are still VAT free.

Most of the members are not VAT registered, so to save the VAT was a direct saving to the Member on their membership fees and training. Today 20% additional cost on the annual fee can mean a lot to a sole practitioner and the Affiliate membership in particular.

It does mean that the Society absorbs several thousands of pounds in VAT the Society incurs annually that we cannot claim back, but it was considered to be the fairest way forward.

The National Will Archive is the trading name of the Society of Will Writers (Services) Limited, which we obtained special dispensation from Companies House at the time to trade with Society in our name as a company limited by shares. For the record, the Society owns 75% and I own the remaining 25% as I funded the original setup. All of this information can of course, be found on Companies House.

As it is currently set up, the National Will Archive have four staff covering the service five days a week. It is extremely important for the Society to maintain such a service and it is a service that I have discussed with the Legal Services Board many times over the years as they are extremely concerned that in future years Will Writing Companies who don’t store may disappear leaving the Wills behind, as does still happen today.

The National Will Archive goes far and above what is expected of any document storage company, but then, that’s you do to be the number one organisation and to stay there.

The National Will Archive is about to launch an exciting new product, so watch this space.

Contact the Society’s Head Office for more details on storage and how the Society can help you and your client to a better and more prosperous future.

Brian W McMillan
Director General
The Society of Will Writers

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