How to Find a Will

If you require expert help with a Will dispute contact our free legal helpline by calling 0333 888 0404 or emailing us at [email protected]

Inheritance lawyer Naomi Ireson explains ‘How to Find a Will in the UK’.

  1. Locating a Will after someone passes away

When someone passes away the deceased will often leave a Will directing how their property and affairs should be dealt with. A person given authority in the Will to deal with the estate is known as an executor. So, one of the first tasks after someone passes away is to locate the deceased’s Will.

 In many cases the deceased’s family and friends will either already have the Will or know where it can be found. But where that is not the case then these are some of your options:

 a) Search the deceased’s personal papers

Most people keep their important paperwork in a safe place at home, perhaps in a drawer in their bedroom or a filing cabinet or bureau in their study.

b) Contact the deceased’s solicitor

Solicitors often store Wills for their clients. So, if the deceased had dealings with a solicitor, then contact the firm to find out if they hold the Will.

c) Contact the deceased’s bank

Banks also offer storage facilities for Wills, so make enquiries with the deceased’s bank.

d) Contact Will registers

There are a number of privately operated Will registers. The National Will Register is the Law Society’s preferred provider and has over 10 million Wills recorded in its system.

  1. Obtaining a copy Will when probate has already been applied for

If you know someone has already found the Will and applied to the court for a grant of probate and you would like to see a copy of it, then you can easily get one. This is because a Will is a public document once a probate has been issued.

You can check whether probate has been issued by going onto the gov.uk website at https://www.gov.uk/search-will-probate

If probate has been issued, you can obtain a copy of the Will by paying the fee of just £1.50 (as at July 2023).

Where probate hasn’t yet been granted, but you think it is likely to issued soon be soon, then you can enter what is known as a ‘standing search’ on the gov.uk website using the PA1S form. You will then be sent a copy of the probate and Will when the grant issues.

It’s important to bear in mind that a standing search will expire after six months, so you will need to extend the search for a further six months within one month of the expiry date if you want the search to continue.

  1. Obtaining a copy Will where it is held by a third party who has not applied for probate

Where you know that the deceased’s Will is in the hands of a third party who has not yet applied for probate then you, or a solicitor acting on your behalf, can ask them to provide a copy.

If you are the executor named in the Will and the person holding the Will refuses to give it to you then you can consider making an application to the court for an order requiring them to surrender the Will to you.

Where you wish to stop someone applying for probate of a Will (for instance, if you believe the Will is invalid) then you can apply for a caveat to be issued. A caveat will prevent probate being granted and therefore hold up the administration process.

If you have any questions about ‘How to Find a Will in the UK’, or need legal assistance with a Will dispute, then our team of specialist lawyers are here to help. You can contact us on 0333 888 0404 or email us at [email protected]

Picture of Naomi Ireson

Naomi Ireson

Naomi is a specialist inheritance dispute lawyer and one of England’s leading practitioners in this complex field.Her areas of practice include claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, challenges to the validity of wills and beneficial interest claims involving estoppel and constructive trusts. She also deals with Court of Protection cases.
Picture of Naomi Ireson

Naomi Ireson

Naomi is a specialist inheritance dispute lawyer and one of England’s leading practitioners in this complex field.Her areas of practice include claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, challenges to the validity of wills and beneficial interest claims involving estoppel and constructive trusts. She also deals with Court of Protection cases.

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