A bank's recent failure to pass on the wills of 9,000 deceased customers has caused understandable concern for many.

The bank discovered 9,000 wills that were supposedly safely stored in its 'safe custody' service. As a result, it is estimated that hundreds of families distributed assets to the wrong people.

Not a case of "better safe than sorry"

Finding out about an outdated will that could have made a significant difference to how a family member's estate was managed after their death has been a reality for all of those affected.

If you think one of your family or a loved one may have stored a will that got lost, and you may have been their executor or may have expected an inheritance that you did not receive, you should seek legal advice to find out what steps you can take to resolve any mistakes made.

Four things to do if a will has been lost

• You may need to revoke the grant of probate if the wrong will has been produced.

• The wrong people may have inherited from your loved one. You may need to work with a tracing company to trace where the assets have gone.

• If it is not possible to retrace or reclaim assets, there may be alternative options such as making a professional negligence claim.

• You may be able to avoid costly and protracted proceedings by using professionals to conduct a mediation.

  • Michelle Rose is a partner at award-winning law firm VWV, which has offices in Clarendon Road, Watford