Panel Deputy conducts Certainty Will Search as a matter of course to locate previous Wills made by P

Court of Protection Matter

In October 2020, Holly presented a Court of Protection focused Certainty Expert Webinar. During the webinar, Holly provided an example of when she has conducted a Certainty Will Search whilst acting as an appointed Deputy and showcased how it has benefitted her when acting as a Deputy for P.

Holly Chantler, Partner at Morrisons Solicitors is a Panel Deputy for the Office of the Public Guardian and the Court of Protection.

Holly comments: “I had recently been appointed as a Panel Deputy for a lady who was now living in a care home which is quite a change to her previous circumstances. As is common with many Panel Deputy referrals, I knew very little about her. Often when you are appointed as a Panel Deputy, you only know the person’s name and possibly a town or city to link them to. I knew very little about her so I conducted a Certainty Will Search, something we generally do as a matter of course at Morrisons Solicitors, to locate any previous Wills P may have made.”

Holly continues: “A Will was located at another firm of solicitors and they also confirmed that they were holding a Lasting Power of Attorney. At this current moment, I do not know who the Attorneys are or whether they are willing or able to act as there are some concerns as to why they were not aware of P’s circumstances. If they are able to act then at least it means that P’s wishes can be fulfilled. If it turns out that they are not able to act, it helps me to consider whether a Statutory Will application is needed because those named as the Attorneys are most likely included in the Will in some way, either as Executors and/or Beneficiaries. Knowing their circumstances will help with considering whether a Statutory Will application is needed when acting as a Deputy for P.”

Although the case is ongoing, it demonstrates how a Certainty Will Search is able to assist when acting as a Professional Deputy. The Will search was able to locate a Will and a Power of Attorney which has helped Holly in considering whether P will need a Statutory Will. It has also been able to identify those who P had wished to manage her affairs should she become incapacitated and located a Will which should help identify any previous wishes and feelings that P may have had. The Official Solicitor recommends that a Will search should take place when applying for a Statutory Will so should Holly decide to submit an application, she has already identified any previous Wills that P had made.