What Is A Certainty Will Search And Why Might I Need One?
Posted on 15th April 2021
When our local solicitors for probate and estate administration are contacted to find out whether we hold a Will on behalf of someone who has died, whether we hold the Will or not, we like to mention to the enquirer about carrying out a Certainty Will search. More often than not, the caller will not be aware of what Certainty, the National Will Register, is and what they do. Sadly, the search could save a lot of time and money in the future for the Personal Representatives of a person’s estate, if they distribute it incorrectly.
What is Certainty, the National Will Register?
Certainty, the National Will Register, may seem self-explanatory. However, Certainty are not just the largest and longest-established register of Wills in the UK, they also offer a range of search packages to help the deceased’s family and friends to ensure they are distributing their loved one’s estate as the deceased would have wanted.
How can I carry out a Will search?
You have a few options for carrying out a Will search.
Firstly, you will need to decide what package you want to carry out. Our solicitors near you for probate have discussed, below, a few of the different packages offered by Certainty, but you can also find information on Certainty’s website, here.
Once you have decided what search package you want to carry out, you can either:
a) Contact Certainty directly and instruct the search
What different Will searches can be carried out and how much will it cost?
The search packages offered on Certainty’s website are:
1. A Register Will Search at a cost of £38 plus VAT – this is a basic search of all the Wills registered with Certainty. This option is the cheapest and, if you are already aware of a Will made by the deceased and you are just checking that a newer Will was not made, this may be the option for you. However, if you are trying to ascertain that the deceased never made a Will and you are not already aware of the existence of one, or if you think a Will was made and it cannot be located, you may wish to instruct one of the following packages.
2. A Combined Will Search at a cost of £95 plus VAT – this search performs the above search and, in addition, searches for unregistered Wills with solicitors and will-drafters within a specific geographical location.
3. A Protect Will Search at a cost of £199 plus VAT – this performs both of the above searches and also places a Section 27 Notice, which you can read about, here.
Our advice would be to discuss the options available and the circumstances surrounding the deceased and their estate before making a decision about which search package is best suited to you. You can contact our expert team of local solicitors for probate at your local office or by completing the call back request form, above.
Alternatively, contact Certainty directly to enquire about their search packages.
How long do Certainty Will Searches take?
The search of the Will register results are usually processed immediately and any results are generally expected to be received within 28 days (although this timescale has been extended to 56 days due to current circumstances).
However, it’s important to note that any Will-writer or solicitor has a legal duty to ensure that they only release any Will to the correct people and, generally, only if the person who made the Will is deceased. Therefore, if you are not named as an executor in the deceased’s Will, even if you instructed the search or were a family member of the deceased, you will not be contacted directly. Instead, the solicitor who hold the Will contact the named executors directly. If you are the named executors, the will-writers will need proof of your identity and proof that the person who made the Will has died.
Certainty Case Study
In our Certainty bulletin, Certainty told the story of how a firm had managed to reunite a 33-year-old Will with a family after the wife of the deceased recalled that her and her spouse had made Wills years prior, but could not remember who the firm was that prepared them or where they were located.
The family decided to carry out a Will Search Combined, and the firm that held the Will released the Will to the named executors, after dealing with the required formalities.
MG Legal’s Case Study
Our expert local solicitors for probate have carried out many one-off Will searches on behalf of clients, and also when dealing with the administration of an estate. Many times, the search is carried out as a formality to ensure that the correct Will is being administered.
However, the search has also been used by our team of solicitors near you, to ensure that the deceased did not make a Will that would differ from the Rules of Intestacy (the way an estate is dealt with if the deceased did not make a Will), ensuring that our clients have peace of mind that they are dealing with matters as the deceased intended.
What happens next?
Well, if you have a Will and were just checking for a newer Will, if there is no newer Will discovered, you can usually proceed on the basis of the Will that you hold.
If there is no known Will and the search does not produce any information about a Will, you should deal with the estate in accordance with the Rules of Intestacy, which you can read about, here.
If a Will is discovered, you should distribute the estate in accordance with the terms of the Will.
Contact MG Legal, solicitors near you for probate and estate administration, to discuss your loved one’s estate, the next steps and how our expert team can help. Contact your local office or complete the call back request form above to chat to a member of our team.
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