Don’t take the risk: Conduct a Certainty Will Search

Will Search Safeguard

Legal 500 law firm Wilkin Chapman has been a member of The National Will Register since 2015. The firm has built-in Certainty Will Search to their internal processes and advise that one should be conducted on every probate matter. The firm recognises that it not only provides additional protection for the executors of the estate but it also provides peace of mind that there is no later Will.

Joanne Binks, Solicitor at Wilkin Chapman explains why the firm incorporates Certainty Will Search into their internal processes using a recent case as an example.

Joanne comments: “The firm were contacted by the son of the deceased after she had passed away as he was aware that his mother had made a Will with the firm. We had originally assisted the deceased when her husband had passed away and subsequently, she wrote a new Will with the firm.”

“The 2011 Will named the deceased’s son and his wife as the executors of the estate. At Wilkin Chapman, we advise all of our clients that a Will Search Combined should be conducted to ensure that no later Will exists. This additional safeguard measure eliminates the risk of a later Will coming to light after the estate has been distributed. In this case, the son was not aware of any other Wills his mother may have made but he and his wife agreed that a Certainty Will Search was a sensible course of action to take.”

A Will Search Combined was conducted which searches for Wills that have been registered on The National Will Register and for Wills that have not yet been registered.

Joanne concludes: “The Certainty Will Search confirmed that we were in possession of the last Will of the deceased. Although no later Will existed, such as in this case, it is not worth the risk of going on the assumption that the Will presented to you is the last Will. Once a Certainty Will Search has concluded, a Will Search Report is issued that you can keep on file to demonstrate that reasonable steps were taken to locate any other Wills.”

“In this case, the executors of the estate felt reassured that the firm put in such measures to ensure that the estate is being distributed correctly and in line with the deceased’s last wishes. The firm was instructed by the executors to assist with applying for the grant of probate.”