There is a great weight of evidence from Contentious Probate specialists that a Certainty Will Search can and does change the outcome of potential and existing dispute claims.
By conducting a Certainty Will Search in disputes it can: help to prove the last Will presented that’s being used to distribute the estate; help to find a later unknown Will or a Will thought not to exist that creates or settles a dispute; confirms that no Will exists for the deceased and a Will search finds more than one Will for the deceased. The below case study demonstrates how a Certainty Will Search assisted in a dispute surrounding the validity of a Will.
Nicola White, Head of Contentious Probate at Thornton Jones Solicitors is a listed specialist in the Certainty Contentious Probate Hub & Area. Nicola conducted a Certainty Will Search to assist her client in locating a previous Will that was written by her client’s deceased relative.
Nicola comments: “In this particular case, my client was the next of kin of the deceased who was disputing the validity of a hand written Will. Based on previous conversations between my client and the deceased, my client was convinced that a previous Will did exist and had been written by a solicitor firm but did not know where it was located. I advised that a Certainty Will Search should be conducted to locate it.”
Nicola conducted a Will Search Combined which searches for Wills that have been registered on The National Will Register and for Wills that have not been registered. The Will search located an earlier registered 2013 Will at a firm who are members of The National Will Register.
Nicola continues: “The Will search located the Will that my client was unable to locate which subsequently helped the case. The Will named my client as the Executor of the estate and disclosed that as a Beneficiary, they would inherit more from the 2013 Will opposed to the handwritten Will. By locating the Will, it has helped to build a strong case for my client as we can use this Will as evidence and can demonstrate that the handwritten Will was out of character for the deceased.”
“I would recommend that a Contentious Probate solicitor should conduct a Certainty Will Search. It can assist in various cases such as confirming whether your client has a claim against the estate, locating any later or previous Wills written by the deceased or, such as in this case, it can help to obtain evidence to establish whether your client would benefit from any previous Wills. It also assists in establishing whether if the disputed Will is ruled as invalid, your client would even have the legal standing to make a claim or would benefit at all. This can assist at the start of a case so that you can advise a client whether it is worth making a claim against the estate.”