As a solicitor or Will writing professional, you need to demonstrate due diligence when distributing an estate to ensure that no later Wills that the deceased may have written exist and therefore present a risk of coming to light in the future.
In the below case, this is exactly what Michael Lillywhite, Director at member firm Jennings Perks Solicitors did. Due to the circumstances surrounding the deceased’s financial affairs, Michael conducted a Certainty Will Search to ensure that there was no later Will.
Michael comments: “Our client was the brother of the deceased. When speaking to him, he explained that his sibling had invested in a number of enterprises over the years that had sadly not worked out for him and that he had a scattergun approach to his finances. Our client was already aware of a Will that was made in February 2014 but due to the erratic nature of the deceased’s management of affairs, there was reasonable doubt as to whether there were any later Wills that the deceased may have made.”
“Therefore, we advised our client that a Certainty Will Search should be conducted to confirm if any later unknown Wills were in existence.”
Michael conducted a Certainty Will Search Combined which checks for Wills that have been registered on The National Will Register and for Wills that have not been registered. The Will search confirmed that the 2014 Will was the last Will of the deceased.
Michael continues: “The 2014 Will appointed the firm who had written the Will as the Executors of the estate. When writing the Will, the deceased had instructed a London based firm even though he lived in Walsall. Due to these circumstances the firm agreed to renounced their role, resulting in our client being able to apply for letters of administration with the Will annexed as a residuary legatee which we were then instructed to do on his behalf.”
“By conducting the Certainty Will Search we were able to confirm that the Will that we were aware of was in fact the last Will of the deceased and were able to assist our client with proceeding with distributing the £200,000 estate.”