How to Find a Missing Will

  • Have you been appointed as an Executor of a Will?
  • Has a relative recently died?
  • Do you know where their Will is stored?
  • Are you sure the deceased made a Will?

Do you know how to find a missing Will?

One of the first and most important tasks for an executor when someone dies is to locate their Will.

Would you know where to look or how to start searching for a lost Will?

Here are some suggestions about how to find a missing Will…..

Tip #1. Don’t forget the obvious – start at home
Even people who make their Wills through a solicitor or Will writer sometimes store their Wills at home, often in the most unlikely places.

Tip #2. Not all Wills look like Wills
Will documents come in all shapes and sizes. There is no standard appearance so be careful not to disregard a document just because it does not immediately look like a Will to you.

Tip#3. Beware of old Wills!
The Will you find might not be the last Will made before the person died. Some people make several Wills during the course of their lives and they do not always destroy the earlier ones.

Tip#4. Ask the Probate Service
Some people store their Wills at the government Probate Service. This is part of the HM Courts & Tribunals Service. If the Will is lodged there a certificate of deposit will have been issued to the owner of the Will. If you are unable to find a certificate of deposit but have strong reasons to believe the Will is deposited with the Probate Service you can contact to them to ask if they hold the deceased’s Will.

Tip#5. Check with Certainty
The National Will Register run by Certainty offers a privately run Will registration service.

Certainty doesn’t store Wills but they do maintain a register of where individual Wills are located. Wills registered with Certainty can be easily and quickly found.

Solicitors who are members of Certainty can also use the facilities of Certainty to make enquiries with other firms of solicitors in England and Wales (including those firms who are not members) to find a missing Will. This is a much cheaper and more effective method to find a missing Will than writing to each firm individually.

A missing Will causes all kinds of problems and could result in a lost inheritance or the executors being sued. If you have been appointed as an executor or you think the deceased may have died without a Will, you have an obligation to make sure all reasonable searches and enquiries are made to locate the last Will. Getting the right advice about your responsibilities and legal duties is very important.

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