Finding a 40-Year-Old Will and doing everything to distribute the estate safely

Distribution Issue

It is not often that Wills made over forty years ago are valid but it is not impossible either. The below case study demonstrates how a Certainty Will Search was able to locate a Will made in 1975 which could otherwise never have been discovered.

Jonathan Dattani, Team Leader & Senior Cases Manager at Treethorpe comments: “Treethorpe were approached by a local authority when a vulnerable person who they were acting for had passed away. They were in possession of a photocopy of a Will from September 1975 but were not aware of whether there was another Will, where the original was located or what had happened to the solicitor who had made the Will. They were aware that the deceased held assets and that the estate would need to be distributed but needed assistance.”

“As a genealogist and probate researcher, I needed to find out: where the original Will was located, if there was a later Will or, as the deceased didn’t have any children, if there were any family members to trace if the estate were to be distributed as intestate.”

“Before I conducted the Certainty Will Search I was able to establish that the firm that had drafted the Will had closed down and that the solicitor who made it had passed away some time ago but I was still not aware of where the Will had gone. I conducted a Will Search Protect given the circumstances that surrounded this case to ensure that we covered every aspect to locate the missing Will as well as to add protection if the Will couldn’t be found.”

The Certainty Will Search swiftly located the 1975 Will at a member firm in Chesterfield who had inherited the closed down firm’s Will Bank.

Jonathan comments: “The Certainty Will Search was able to locate the Will that we were looking for! The Will appointed the deceased’s husband as Executor but if he pre-deceased her, which he did in 2012, then solicitor who wrote the Will was to be appointed. My research revealed that the solicitor had predeceased our testator too. Through the particular language of the Will, I was able to establish that the solicitor who drafted the Will had done so on a personal appointment as opposed to through the firm. This meant that the firm who were holding the Will didn’t inherit the Executorship. The estate was left to one sole beneficiary which was a charity, whom we represent in the administration.”

Jonathan concludes: “This is the oldest valid Will that Treethorpe have come across. Without the Certainty Will Search, the Will may have never of discovered due to the age of the Will and that it had been inherited by another firm. We were able to distribute the estate the way the deceased had always intended.”

The Will search used in this case was a Will Search Protect which checks the register, searches geographically for Wills that have not been registered held by law firms and Will writing companies and places a Section 27 Notice and obtains a quote for Missing Will/Trustee Indemnity Insurance should cover be required.