Find a Will Easily

Searching for a will
Catrin, UK Solicitor
24/05/2024 ● 5 minutes
In the event of a loved one's passing, loc­at­ing their Will be­comes a cru­cial step in ad­min­is­ter­ing their estate and ful­filling their final wishes. Find­ing the Will can some­times be chal­len­ging.

Find­ing the Will in the UK provides peace of mind to all parties in­volved, in­clud­ing be­ne­fi­ciar­ies, ex­ecut­ors, and family mem­bers. Last Will en­sures that the de­ceased's final wishes are ac­cur­ately doc­u­mented and hon­oured, re­du­cing the po­ten­tial for con­fu­sion or dis­agree­ment among family mem­bers.

In the event of a loved one's passing, loc­at­ing their Will be­comes a cru­cial step in ad­min­is­ter­ing their estate and ful­filling their final wishes.

This guide aims to help you through the pro­cess of find­ing a Will in the UK (if there is one in ex­ist­ence), provid­ing es­sen­tial in­form­a­tion and prac­tical tips to help ease the burden during a chal­len­ging time.

Make sure that Your Last Will will Be Found

Would you like to take care of your spouse or leave money to a good cause? You can achieve this only by writ­ing a Will.

With Aatos's ser­vice, you can create your tail­ored Last Will in just 10 minutes by an­swer­ing a few simple ques­tions.

Try it out for free.

How to Find a Will UK?

The pro­cess of find­ing a Will in the UK can some­times be con­fus­ing, es­pe­cially during times of grief and un­cer­tainty.

But with the right ap­proach and un­der­stand­ing, find­ing a Will can be done, even if a family member ap­pears to be hiding the Will.

Find­ing a Will is Cru­cial for sev­er­al reas­ons:

  1. Estate Ad­min­is­tra­tion: The Will serves as a road­map for the dis­tri­bu­tion of the de­ceased's assets, en­sur­ing that their wishes are car­ried out ac­cur­ately.
  2. Ex­ecut­or's Re­spons­ib­il­it­ies: The ap­poin­ted ex­ecut­or(s) are re­spons­ible for ad­min­is­ter­ing the estate ac­cording to the terms of the Will. Ac­cess­ing the doc­u­ment is es­sen­tial for them to fulfil their duties ef­fect­ively.
  3. Resolv­ing Legal Mat­ters: In some cases, dis­putes may arise con­cern­ing the valid­ity or in­ter­pret­a­tion of the Will. Having access to the ori­gin­al can help resolve these issues ef­fi­ciently -  find­ing the ori­gin­al Will en­sures that the doc­u­ment presen­ted is au­then­t­ic and leg­ally valid.

Read more: Can an Ex­ecut­or of a Will be a Be­ne­fi­ciary?

How to Find out if Someone has a Will UK?

Whet­h­er you're a family member, a close friend, or a po­ten­tial be­ne­fi­ciary, un­der­stand­ing the right av­en­ues to un­cov­er the ex­ist­ence of a Will is es­sen­tial for en­sur­ing that the de­ceased’s wishes are re­spec­ted and that the estate is dis­trib­uted cor­rectly.

There are five ini­tial steps for search­ing for a Will in the UK. Check the de­ceased's per­son­al re­cords, con­tact so­li­cit­ors or will-writ­ing ser­vices, search online re­gis­tries, check with pro­bate re­gis­try and check will search ser­vice.

1. Check the De­ceased's Per­son­al Re­cords

Start by search­ing through the de­ceased's per­son­al re­cords, in­clud­ing their home, office, or safe de­posit box.

Wills are often stored in secure loc­a­tions such as filing cab­in­ets, safes, or with their so­li­citor. This is often the quick­est and easi­est way to get the ori­gin­al or at least a copy of a Will UK.

2. Con­tact So­li­cit­ors or Will-Writ­ing Ser­vices

If the Will cannot be found among the de­ceased's be­long­ings for some reason, you may begin to sus­pect that a family member is hiding the Will! So, it's im­port­ant to con­tact the de­ceased's so­li­citor or the firm that as­sisted them in draft­ing the Will (if you know who they are).

This is be­cause so­li­cit­ors often keep the ori­gin­al or at least copies of their cli­ents' Wills for safe­keep­ing.

💡 Con­tact­ing so­li­cit­ors or will-writ­ing ser­vices is one of the most common ways of ob­tain­ing the ori­gin­al and or a copy of a Will UK.

3. Search Online Re­gis­tries

In the UK, there are sev­er­al online re­gis­tries where people can re­gister their Wills vol­un­tar­ily. These re­gis­tries serve as a central data­base for Wills, making it easier to find a Will UK.

When you search for a Will in the UK you can look at web­sites like the Na­tion­al Will Re­gister and Cer­tainty which es­sen­tially provide search­able data­bases of re­gistered Wills.

To find a Will using the Na­tion­al Will Re­gister and Cer­tainty, start by vis­it­ing their web­site. You will need to provide spe­cif­ic de­tails about the de­ceased, in­clud­ing their:

  • full name
  • date of birth
  • date of death
  • last known ad­dress

Once you submit this in­form­a­tion, a com­pre­hens­ive search is con­duc­ted through their ex­tens­ive data­base of Wills, which in­cludes those re­gistered by so­li­cit­ors and Will writers across the UK. There is often a fee as­so­ci­ated with this ser­vice, which varies de­pend­ing on the depth of the search re­quired.

If a Will is found, Cer­tainty will inform you of its loc­a­tion, and you can then re­quest a copy by fol­low­ing their pro­ced­ures, en­sur­ing that you are acting within legal rights to access the doc­u­ment.

4. Check with Pro­bate Re­gis­try

If the de­ceased's estate is going through the pro­bate pro­cess, the Will may have been lodged with the Pro­bate Re­gis­try.

To locate a Will in the UK Pro­bate Re­gis­try, you first need to know where the de­ceased resided as this de­term­ines the rel­ev­ant Pro­bate Re­gis­try office to con­tact. The Pro­bate Re­gis­try holds re­cords of all Wills that have gone through the pro­bate pro­cess, which val­id­ates the Will and allows for the ad­min­is­tra­tion of the estate. You can re­quest a search by provid­ing es­sen­tial de­tails about the de­ceased such as their full name, date of death, and last ad­dress.

A nom­in­al fee is re­quired for this ser­vice, which covers both the search and pro­vi­sion of a copy of the Will, if found. If the Will is re­gistered and pro­bate has been granted, you will re­ceive a copy of the Will; if not, the re­gis­try will inform you that no doc­u­ment was found.

This method en­sures you are ac­cess­ing the most recent and leg­ally ac­know­ledged ver­sion of the Will, fa­cil­it­at­ing the proper ex­e­cu­tion of the de­ceased’s estate.

💡 Once a grant of pro­bate has been issued, a Will be­comes a public doc­u­ment and anyone can apply to have a copy of it. All you need to do is search pro­bate re­cords for Doc­u­ments and Wills (Eng­land and Wales).

Will search ser­vices are spe­cial­ised tools de­signed to help locate the of­fi­cial Will of a de­ceased person. These will finder ser­vices are com­monly used by family mem­bers, ex­ecut­ors, or legal pro­fes­sion­als to ensure that the estate of the de­ceased is ad­min­istered ac­cording to their latest wishes as doc­u­mented in their Will.

Will searches work by ac­cess­ing a vari­ety of data­bases where Wills might be re­gistered or stored, in­clud­ing na­tion­al Will re­gis­tries, so­li­citor firms, and safe stor­age fa­cil­it­ies often used for legal doc­u­ments.

Users can ini­ti­ate a search by provid­ing de­tails about the de­ceased, such as their: full name, date of birth and last known ad­dress. The ser­vice then scans through re­gistered data to find any Wills that match the provided in­form­a­tion.

Will searches are par­tic­u­larly useful in cases where the where­abouts of a Will are un­known or when it is un­clear if a Will was ever made. They help to mit­ig­ate the risk of dis­trib­uting an estate based on an out­dated Will or without know­ledge of the de­ceased’s final wishes, en­sur­ing a fair and legal res­ol­u­tion to estate mat­ters.

Read more: How to Find Out If Someone has Died?

What Hap­pens if You CAN'T Find a Will?

If the ori­gin­al Will cannot be found after you have tried all of the steps above to search for a Will UK, it can lead to sev­er­al com­plic­a­tions and po­ten­tial con­sequences.

Below, we ex­plore the op­tions and im­plic­a­tions of what can happen if the Will is not found.

The Estate Dis­trib­uted ac­cording to the Laws of In­test­acy

If the ori­gin­al Will cannot be loc­ated, the de­ceased person's estate may be ad­min­istered ac­cording to the laws of in­test­acy. This means that the estate will be dis­trib­uted based on stat­utory rules rather than the de­ceased's wishes as out­lined in the will.

This may result in assets being dis­trib­uted in a manner that dif­fers from the de­ceased's in­ten­tions.

Pos­sib­il­ity for Dis­putes and Lit­ig­a­tion

The ab­sence of the ori­gin­al Will can lead to dis­putes among family mem­bers and be­ne­fi­ciar­ies.

Without clear in­struc­tions from the de­ceased, dis­agree­ments may arise over how the estate should be dis­trib­uted. This can result in costly and time-con­sum­ing lit­ig­a­tion, as in­ter­ested parties may con­test the dis­tri­bu­tion of assets.

💡 Only a small per­cent­age of Wills in Eng­land and Wales are form­ally con­tested an­nu­ally.

Un­cer­tainty and Delay in the Ad­min­is­tra­tion of the Estate

The search for the miss­ing Will and the sub­sequent legal pro­ceed­ings can cause delays in the ad­min­is­tra­tion of the estate. This un­cer­tainty can pro­long the pro­bate pro­cess, lead­ing to frus­tra­tion among be­ne­fi­ciar­ies and po­ten­tially in­creas­ing legal costs.

Risk of Fraud or Undue In­flu­ence

In some cases, the ab­sence of the ori­gin­al Will may raise sus­pi­cions of fraud or undue in­flu­ence.

Family mem­bers or other in­ter­ested parties may hide the Will or allege that the Will was de­lib­er­ately des­troyed to be­ne­fit cer­tain people.

This can fur­ther com­plic­ate the pro­bate pro­cess and may re­quire in­vest­ig­a­tion by legal au­thor­it­ies.

In­com­plete In­struc­tions

Even if a copy of the Will is avail­able, it may not con­tain all of the de­ceased's in­struc­tions or amend­ments. Without access to the ori­gin­al doc­u­ment, it may be chal­len­ging to verify the valid­ity of any changes or up­dates made to the Will over time.

Over­all, the in­ab­il­ity to locate the ori­gin­al Will can create sig­ni­fic­ant chal­lenges and un­cer­tain­ties for the ad­min­is­tra­tion of the de­ceased person's estate.

So, it's es­sen­tial to take pro­act­ive steps to safeguard im­port­ant legal doc­u­ments and ensure that loved ones are aware of their where­abouts to avoid such com­plic­a­tions.

Read more: What You Should Never Put in Your Will in UK?

Find­ing a Will help the Estate Ad­min­is­tra­tion Pro­cess

Find­ing a Will in the UK is a cru­cial step in the estate ad­min­is­tra­tion pro­cess, en­abling ex­ecut­ors to fulfil their duties and ensure the de­ceased's wishes are car­ried out.

While the task may seem daunt­ing, es­pe­cially during times of emo­tion­al dis­tress, fol­low­ing the steps out­lined in this art­icle can help sim­pli­fy the pro­cess and provide peace of mind to all parties in­volved.

By util­ising avail­able re­sources, seek­ing pro­fes­sion­al as­sist­ance when ne­ces­sary, and re­main­ing per­sistent, you can nav­ig­ate the pro­cess of find­ing a Will with greater con­fid­ence and ef­fi­ciency.

Read more: The Es­sen­tial Guide to Making a Will

Family Member Hiding a Will in the UK

If you sus­pect a family member is hiding a Will, take the fol­low­ing steps:

  1. Re­quest In­form­a­tion: Ask the sus­pec­ted family member dir­ectly about the Will’s where­abouts.
  2. Check with So­li­cit­ors: Con­tact the de­ceased’s so­li­cit­ors to see if they hold a copy of the Will.
  3. Search the House: Thor­oughly search the de­ceased’s home for the doc­u­ment.
  4. Apply to Court: If ne­ces­sary, you can apply to the court for an order to pro­duce the Will.

Avoid Situ­ation that a Family Member is Hiding Your Will

  1. Com­mu­nic­ate Clearly: Make your in­ten­tions known to all rel­ev­ant parties.
  2. Re­gister the Will: Re­gister the Will with a pro­fes­sion­al Will stor­age ser­vice.
  3. Inform Ex­ecut­ors: Ensure your ex­ecut­ors know where the Will is stored.
  4. Use a So­li­citor: Having a so­li­citor in­volved can reduce the chances of the Will being hidden or con­tested.

Taking these pre­cau­tions can help ensure that your wishes are re­spec­ted and your Will is easily ac­cess­ible after your passing.

Help your Ex­ecut­ors to Find Your Will

To ensure that your ex­ecut­ors can ef­fi­ciently locate and ex­ecute your Will after your passing, it is vital to clearly com­mu­nic­ate its loc­a­tion and keep it se­curely stored.

Keep­ing an or­gan­ised set of doc­u­ments is es­sen­tial for the smooth ex­e­cu­tion of your Will. This should in­clude an up-to-date list of assets and li­ab­il­it­ies, and con­tact in­form­a­tion for key ad­visors such as your so­li­citor or fin­an­cial ad­visor. Reg­u­lar up­dates to your Will should be com­mu­nic­ated to your ex­ecut­ors, par­tic­u­larly fol­low­ing sig­ni­fic­ant life events that might impact your estate. Ensure that any copies of your Will are clearly marked as such, and that your ex­ecut­ors know the loc­a­tion of the ori­gin­al.

Op­tions for stor­ing your Will in­clude your home, ideally in a fire­proof and wa­ter­proof safe, your so­li­citor’s office, or a bank safety de­posit box. An­oth­er secure method is with the Pro­bate Ser­vice in Eng­land and Wales, where your Will can be stored for a one-time fee. It is cru­cial that your ex­ecut­ors are in­formed about where your Will is stored and how to access it.

Ad­di­tion­ally, con­sider Aatos' di­git­al stor­age solu­tion. This modern ap­proach en­sures that your Will is stored se­curely online, ac­cess­ible from any­where, and pro­tec­ted against phys­ical damage.

Aatos' di­git­al stor­age can be par­tic­u­larly be­ne­fi­cial if you are util­ising their on­going legal sup­port and doc­u­ment update ser­vices, as it en­sures that the most cur­rent ver­sion of your Will is always avail­able and easily ac­cess­ible for your ex­ecut­ors. This option is part of a broader move to­wards di­git­al legal man­age­ment, provid­ing a seam­less and ef­fi­cient solu­tion for estate plan­ning.

Aatos Will Writ­ing Ser­vice – Find a Will Easily

Did you know that Aatos can help you to write your Will? Our  spe­cial­ist law­yers have drafted leg­ally valid Wills that can be per­son­al­ised to your unique situ­ation.

All you have to do is answer a few simple ques­tions and your per­son­al­ised Will is cre­ated.

We can also se­curely store your Will, so that family mem­bers can't hide your Will and your loved ones never have to go through the trauma of search­ing for your Will after you die, as it will be held se­curely be Aatos.

So, why not try our simple and af­ford­able Will ser­vice today

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