How do you know whether the last Will that you are presented with or are currently holding in your archive, is in fact the last Will? Testators not only change their Will over time but also their solicitor, and without informing the previous law firm that they wrote their Will with.
When faced with the loss of her brother, Mrs Brown discovered a copy of her brother’s Will in his home after an extensive search. However, she was not certain that it was the last Will due to the Wills contents.
Mrs Brown comments: “When my brother passed away after a long-term illness, I wasn’t sure at first if he had made a Will. My mother had informed me that she and my brother had previously drafted Wills at a law firm in the 1990’s.”
Mrs Brown continues: “Based on previous conversations with my family, I believed that there could be a later Will and wanted to check before applying for probate. The Will that we were holding had 18 beneficiaries, many of whom had either passed away prior to my brother or due to a family fall out, my brother hadn’t been in contact with for a long-time.”
“My brother had also expressed that he had wanted to write a Will with the charity that had cared for him. I contacted the charity and they confirmed that they had no record of him writing a Will under their scheme. After this conversation, I still felt there may be a Will out there and did not want to go to probate.”
“The solicitor who held the original Will could have applied for probate, but I was still uncertain that we actually had my brother’s last Will. After searching online to try and understand what I could do in this situation, I discovered The National Will Register and performed a Certainty Will Search. Indeed, I was correct, within a matter of days a solicitor contacted me and the result was that they held a Will for my brother dated 2003”.
Mrs Brown says: “When I was contacted by the firm who were holding the 2003 Will, it appointed the firm as Executor and named only four beneficiaries as opposed to the 18 that had been in the earlier Will, changing the way in which the estate was to be distributed.”
“Thanks to The National Will Register the estate was distributed how my brother had intended. Without the Certainty Will Search, my brother’s 2003 Will may have never come to light and those he no longer wanted to benefit from his estate would have received part of it. The staff were extremely helpful and understanding of my situation which made me feel at ease as I knew I was doing the right thing by my brother.”
Mrs Brown conducted a Certainty Will Search Combined which searches for Wills that have been registered on The National Will Register (circa 8.7 million Wills in the system) and geographically for Wills that have not yet been registered written and held at law firms and Will writers.