How do I find a Will of a deceased person?
Posted on 11th December 2019
When a person dies intestate, a lot of the time your local Wills and Probate solicitors will recommend that you carry out a Will search.
A Will search usually checks with local solicitors for Wills whether they hold a Will for the deceased, and the date of the Will that they hold.
So, why do you need to carry out a Will search?
Well, when your local Wills solicitors are dealing with an estate of someone who was died intestate (without a Will), it’s important to check that they don’t, in fact, have a Will.
As in a recent case of Lloyds Bank, if a Will is discovered after the estate has been dealt with, the people who have received the funds from the estate, could be liable to pay the money to the correct beneficiaries (i.e. the people who are named in the Will).
As an example: Mr Smith has died leaving (or so the family thinks!) no Will. He has no living children, or remoter issue (i.e. grandchildren or great-grandchildren or great-great-grandchildren, etc), and both of his parents have predeceased him. Leaving no spouse, the only relative that Mr Smith has living is his sister, Mrs Jones. As Mrs Jones believes that Mr Smith hasn’t left a Will, she deals with his estate and collects the assets for herself.
Unfortunately, Mrs Jones did not carry out a Will search, and it is only when a Will is discovered by accident two years later, that the beneficiaries of the Will realise that they have lost out on their inheritance. As Mrs Jones did nothing to check that Mr Smith did not leave a Will, the beneficiaries decide to make a claim against Mrs Jones for what they are entitled to.
How do you carry out a Will search?
Well, our team of local Wills and Probate solicitors would usually recommend carrying out a Will search with Certainty, the National Will Register. The cost of a search with Certainty starts from just £45.60. It may seem like a lot, but the expense can be claimed back from the estate, and think of all the money it could save you!
How long does a Will search take?
Certainty will email all of the solicitors in the area where the deceased person lived, and sometimes in the area where they have lived or worked previously. The solicitor holding the Will is asked to contact the executors of the estate if they are holding a Will within 28 days, usually. If you have not heard anything in this time, Certainty will contact you.
What if a Will is found?
If a Will is found, the deceased’s instructions from the Will must be followed. If you’re appointed as the executor, then you can carrying on dealing with the estate. If you’re not, then the person named will generally take over dealing with matters.
What if no Will is found?
If you’ve taken reasonable steps to locate the Will, then you can most likely start to deal with the estate on the basis of it being intestate.
Do I need legal advice?
The best thing to do when your loved one passes away, regardless of whether they have left a Will or not, is to contact your local Wills and Probate Solicitors.
You can pop into your local office, or email email@example.com. Lorraine and Hope are available from Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, and Hope can be contacted outside of business hours with any new enquiries, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our team offer fixed-fee prices in most Probate matters, and can provide as much, or as little, advice that you need.
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