Not only is a Last Will and Testament of vital significance to the departed’s beneficiaries, it offers a potent reference source for generations to come. In the UK, law dictates that such documents must be kept in perpetuity and made available to anyone who wants to see them. That could be a solicitor acting for an individual, a relative researching a family tree, or the merely curious.
In England and Wales the responsibility to securely store and provide access to the documents falls to the Probate Service – part of HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS). The archive dates back to 1858. It comprises over 41 million records and is is growing by around 250,000 new probate additions each year.
Iron Mountain® has been the service provider of off-site records management to the Probate Service for over 15 years. A special facility was created in Birmingham to centralise and standardise records management. Known as the Probate Records Centre it is highly secure and has a climate-controlled environment, compliant with BS 5454, to store the records in optimum condition.
As well as storage, the Iron Mountain service includes retrieval and provision of copy documents against customer orders. Mark Burden, Northern Probate Manager at HMCTS, says: “We’ve had a joint objective to provide an online ordering service for some time. This would help us better serve our customers, make records more accessible and transparent, and fit perfectly with the UK Government digital agenda.”