Lost Wills

Where can you "find" a Will?

Once a Will has been made it is usually stored away in a "safe" place. Once that person dies, if nobody knows where that safe place is, the Will may go unfound. There are a number of places you can check to find a Will once someone has died:

If you discover it is with their solicitor, bank, Will storage company or the London Probate Department, you will need proof of the death (the medical or death certificate) and proof that you’re the executor named in the will in order to receive it from them.

What if the original Will cannot be found?

If a Will has been lost, there is a presumption it was revoked by destruction by the maker. However, it may be possible to deal with the estate even if the Will cannot be found or produced. An application can be made to the probate registry for an Order allowing probate using a draft copy or reconstruction of the Will. Lawyers are obliged to keep records of all Wills they prepare so reproduction of a properly prepared Will can be a relatively simple task as long as it can be shown that the Will was actually executed.

To be allowed to proceed, an affidavit must be provided confirming the existence of the original Will and explaining why it cannot be produced. It must also give details of what was in the Will. Where the Will is only damaged, the original must also be produced.

Where the contents may be challenged, the registry may require the application to be dealt with on notice to any potential beneficiaries.

What should you do next?

If you can’t find a loved one’s Will and don’t know what to do next, read our page on Intestacy Rules and then give us a call on 01935 823883 for a no-obligation chat and we can help you work out your next steps.

For legal advice call 01935 823883