When family or friends of someone who has passed away cannot find a Will, but believe that one would have been made, they contact The National Will Register and enquire about a Certainty Will Search to check whether one has been made.
In this case, a neighbour who had cared for the deceased remembered having a conversation with him about the importance of having a Will – but did not follow it up to see if one had been made or not.
This is not uncommon as people do not tend to discuss Wills. According to a study commissioned by The National Will Register up to two-thirds of people in the UK would not know where to locate their parents’ Wills.
In this case, however, a Will was found for the deceased made as far back as 1997.
Helen Tavroges, a Partner in the Private Wealth Business Group of member firm Womble Bond Dickinson, provides a summary of the matter:
“The searcher in this case was a concerned neighbour of the deceased who was referred to The National Will Register by a funeral director. It transpired that the neighbour had been a good friend of the deceased’s mother who had asked her to care for her son in the event of her death.”
“The deceased was not married, he had no children, siblings or other close relatives and before his mother’s death he had been heavily reliant on her. After she passed away, the neighbour honoured her friend’s wishes and provided the deceased with care and assistance on a regular basis until his death.”
“After the deceased passed away, the neighbour recalled a conversation that she had with the deceased’s mother about the importance of making a Will. Although neither the deceased nor his mother had ever said that they had made Wills, the searcher thought the deceased may have made one.”
The neighbour had requested a Will Search Combined, searching for Wills registered with The National Will Register, and for those that have not yet been registered. Within just 24 hours of the search being made, a Will from 1997 was located at Womble Bond Dickinson.
Helen continues: “A 1997 Will was located. We were aware that the firm had previously dealt with the deceased’s mother’s estate and had written to the deceased on several occasions asking him whether he wanted to review his Will as he had appointed retired partners of the firm as his executors, but we received no reply.”
“In his Will, the deceased gave his entire estate to his mother and in the event that she predeceased him he gave it to a number of charities. Without the Certainty Will Search, the deceased’s estate would have been distributed under the rules of intestacy to distant relatives that the deceased had no relationship with and not as he had intended.”
As a member firm, Womble Bond Dickinson had registered its Will bank archive to The National Will Register and offers registration for all newly written Wills, to provide testators the certainty that their wishes be fulfilled, and executors, loved ones, family, and friends the certainty that the right Will is found and carried out accordingly.
To find out more about Certainty Will Search, speak to your account manager if you are a member firm, or click here.