When a close relative dies, their Will is one of the most important documents that they leave behind. The Will gives clear instructions as to who the deceased appoints as their executor to carry out their wishes, and how they would like their estate to be distributed. A Will can also take into account additional wishes such as arrangements for the funeral and taking care of any children.
To remove any worries or anxiety, the Will needs to be accessible in the event of a relative's death. Holmes Family Law offers Will storage facilities which ease the burden when a close relative passes, with easy access to the Will and additional support if necessary - for more information see Our Services - Wills.
Assuming the deceased relative has made a Will, where would be the usual places to look?
- In most cases, a copy of a Will would be kept with the deceased relative's documents or held with either a bank or a solicitor. It is always advised that any executors are informed beforehand, with instructions on where the Will is located. The original Will is required to apply for grants of probate.
- A copy of the Will would carry information about the Law Firm or practice that prepared the document. Contact them to find out if they have the original signed copy in storage, or if they are aware of where the original might be stored (as per their client's wishes)
- If you can't find a copy of the Will, then it may be worth contacting the firm that as acted for the deceased relative. They may have acted in the past on property purchases, general legal advice or business transactions.
- Banks may hold a copy of the Will for previous home purchases
- Certainty - The National Will Register and Search Service offers a range of services including the ability to search over eight million Wills that have been registered.
Need help finding a Will?
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If any of the above methods do not produce results, and you think there is an executor or firm that will act on the estate, then you can place a standing search on the Probate Registry. A standing search is ongoing and anticipates the issue of a grant and entitles you to a copy of the grant and Will (if any) when it issued. Your application is entered onto a database and remains in force for 6 months. In England and Wales, the only person entitled to see a Will is the executor, until it becomes a public document either by probate being granted or a court claim being issued.
It is imperative that you seek legal advice at the earliest opportunity if you believe that a relative has left a Will. At Holmes Family Law we can advise on the best course of action to take from locating the Will right through to Probate. You can contact us by Getting In Touch or calling 0191 5009337 (Whickham) or 01670 707338 (Cramlington) during office hours.