Why is finding a Will important?

An individual's Will is a confidential legal document, which is the property of either the person who made it, or the estate of the deceased. Often following a bereavement, prior to the grant of probate the family can be left looking for a Will which could even have been lost over time by the person who wrote it.

Many of us do not know if our loved ones have made a Will or not, but discovering if a Will exists can make a huge difference. Loved ones can make sure the process is handled quickly, avoiding intestacy. Crucially a Will is also likely to contain any final wishes, funeral arrangements and even appoint legal guardians for minor children.

Help Finding a Will

Here are some tips on the first places to look, and the checks you can make to see if a professional Will has been registered.

Where to start looking?

Search at home

In the UK many people simply keep their Wills at home without registering them or lodging copies elsewhere.

This means that in most cases the first thing you should do is search their home for documents. This might seem obvious but searching where they lived is the best place to start. Popular locations include:

  • Safes
  • Cabinets & locked drawers
  • The loft or attic
  • The study
  • Master bedroom

Check the National Will Register

The National Will Register, is maintained by the website www.certainty.co.uk. It is very easy to see if a Will has been registered using certainty, and the process is a very quick and cost efficient method of locating a will before probate has been granted.

Many solicitors and legal professional who write and store Wills in the UK will have registered to use the service. It will cost £38 (plus VAT), but in most cases the cost will be refunded from the estate of the person who passed away.

Approach likely solicitors of the deceased

If they used a solicitor or legal professional to write the Will then it is very likely that they will have a copy of document. Get in contact with solicitors that you know the deceased has used in the past and ask if they have a copy in storage or digitally.

However, only an executor of a Will is entitled to a copy and so if you are not named then it is likely that the solicitor will refuse to issue you a copy, however this should at least make you aware of its existence.

You are however able to apply to see a copy of a Will once it becomes a public document. This happens after a grant of probate has been issued to administer the Will.

Anyone can apply for a standing search from their local District Probate Registry. If you apply for a standing search, the probate registry will send you a copy of the grant, together with a copy of the Will, if one was made.

Apply for a standing search

Once probate is granted you can apply to your local District Probate Registry, together with a cheque for £10 made payable to HMCS.

The form can be found on the government website using the button below:

The good news is that even if probate has not yet been granted the search will remain in place for six months.

This means that if grant is issued in the immediate future then the probate registry will still send a copy to you.

Call 0800 0248685 to talk to us today.

Get a Free Will for your own family. Here at My Insurance Hub we offer a free will writing service for anyone who purchases an insurance policy. Whether you are covering a mortgage, protecting your income or sorting out a funeral plan we can help!