When a loved one passes away, it can be a difficult and emotional time. In addition to dealing with the loss, there are also important legal matters that need to be addressed, such as obtaining a copy of their Will. A Will is a legal document that outlines a person’s wishes for their assets and property after they pass away. It is an important document to have, as it can help ensure that your loved one’s wishes are carried out and their estate is distributed according to their wishes.

Please note: When Probate is issued in the UK, a Will becomes a public record. This means that once the Probate application is complete and Probate is granted, the Will becomes a document that is available for public inspection. The Probate Registry holds a copy of the Will, and it can be accessed by anyone who wishes to view it. This transparency is important for ensuring that the deceased’s wishes are carried out correctly and that the distribution of assets is done according to the terms of the will. Anyone can request a copy of the Will once the probate application is complete. If Probate has not been Granted yet You can use form PA1S to ask to be sent a copy of a probate if it’s granted in the next 6 months. This is called a ‘standing search’ and costs £3.

Why Is Having a Will Important?

A Will is an essential part of estate planning. It allows a person to specify how they want their assets and property to be distributed after they pass away. Without a Will, the distribution of assets and property will be determined by the Law of Intestacy, which may not align with the deceased’s wishes.

Having a Will also helps to avoid potential conflicts among family members and loved ones. It provides clear instructions on how the deceased wanted their estate to be handled, reducing the likelihood of Probate disputes and legal battles.

Probate Advice Options

How to get a copy of a Will

What Happens If There Is No Will?

If a person passes away without a Will, they are said to have died “intestate.” In this case, the Law of Intestacy determines how their assets and property will be distributed. This process can be lengthy and costly, and it may not align with the deceased’s wishes.

In addition, without a Will, the court will appoint an administrator to handle the deceased’s estate. This person may not be someone the deceased would have chosen, and this can lead to delays and complications in the distribution of assets.

What Happens if a Will is Found After the Estate has been Distributed

If a Will is found after the estate has been distributed under the laws of intestacy, the situation can become complex. In such cases, the legal process may involve contesting the distribution of assets based on the newly discovered Will. As you can imagine, this could be complex if assets have already been distributed and possibly sold or spent. It could also be an extremely contentious situation with the beneficiaries under intestacy battling against the beneficiaries outlined in the Will. In addition, the Administrators of the Estate could find themselves held personally liable for the mistake if they cannot demonstrate that they made sufficient efforts to locate a copy of the Will at the time of the Probate application.

How to Get a Copy of a Will

To locate a missing Will in the UK, here is a detailed list of actions someone should take:

  1. Check the deceased’s home: Start by searching the deceased’s home thoroughly, including safes, filing cabinets, drawers, and any other storage spaces where important documents might be kept.
  2. Contact the deceased’s solicitor: Reach out to the solicitor who may have helped the deceased in creating the Will. They might have a copy of the Will in their records.
  3. Check with the Probate Registry: Contact the Probate Registry to see if the deceased registered their Will with them. They may have a copy of the Will on file.
  4. Contact banks and financial institutions: Inquire with the deceased’s banks and financial institutions as they may have information about the existence of a Will or safe deposit box.
  5. Speak to family and friends: Ask family members, friends, or anyone close to the deceased if they have any knowledge of the will’s whereabouts.
  6. Search online will registries: Some online will registries allow individuals to register their wills. Check these registries to see if the deceased registered their will online. The most common one in the UK is the National Will Register.
  7. Advertise for the Will: Consider placing an advertisement in local newspapers or online platforms requesting information about the missing Will.
  8. Consult a professional: If all efforts fail, consider seeking help from a professional probate research company or a solicitor specialising in Will disputes to assist in locating the missing Will.

Missing Will Insurance

If there is a suspicion that a Will exists but it cannot be found then it may be possible for Administrators to take out Missing Will Insurance but any insurance company issuing such a policy will expect that extensive efforts to find the Will have taken place. They will expect evidence of the actions outlined above.

What Does Missing Will Insurance Cover

Missing will insurance typically covers the costs associated with legal fees, court expenses, and potential financial losses that may arise if a will cannot be located after someone has passed away. This type of insurance can help protect the administrators of the estate from personal liability if a will is found after the estate has been distributed under the laws of intestacy. It provides financial coverage for contesting the distribution of assets based on the newly discovered will and can help cover the expenses of resolving any disputes that may arise due to the missing Will.

Probate Help and Support

If you are going through the process of probate and need help and support on any aspect you will find what you need on this website. You can obtain free legal probate advice by requesting a consultation or find service providers for everything from probate researchers to probate loan providers in the probate services business directory.

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