Deputies and Attorneys are seeing the benefits of carrying out Certainty Will Searches as part of their initial assessment of a Protected Party’s (P) circumstances, wishes and feelings so in order to make decisions that are in P’s best interests moving forward.
The National Will Register plays a crucial role in the work of those involved in applying for Statutory Wills, or when expediting their Property and Affairs and Health and Welfare Deputy or Attorney responsibilities with the upmost due diligence.
Certainty Will Searches assist in Court of Protection matters by locating a Will for P where there is one or finding the most recent Will. A Certainty Will Search locates Wills registered on The National Will Register and for Wills that have not yet been registered in geographically targeted areas.
In 2020, there was a 282% increase in Certainty Will Searches conducted for Court of Protection matters in comparison to 2019.
Locating P’s Will can be beneficial for Deputies and Attorneys in many ways as they make decisions in P’s best interests. For example, by locating the Will it can help to establish end of life wishes and how they wish their estate to be distributed so that particular assets will not be sold by the Deputy or Attorney.
Chantal Ul Haq-Weedon, Solicitor and Professional Deputy at Wilkin Chapman LLP spoke about how a Certainty Will Search assisted with a Court of Protection matter that she had: “A Certainty Will Search is invaluable when acting as a Deputy for somebody who has lost capacity and helps to ensure that you are acting in their best interest.”
“An example of this is when I was acting for a Deputy for P after their previous Deputy had mismanaged their funds. I conducted a Certainty Will Search to establish whether P had previously made a Will which would assist the Deputy in making informed decisions about their property and affairs and welfare.”
“Around the same time, P was admitted to hospital and was refusing to take medication or eat any food. The hospital was preparing to conduct a capacity assessment as they needed to determine if P had the capacity to make these decisions about her hospital treatment.”
“Whilst P was in hospital, the Certainty Will Search located a living Will that confirmed what treatment P would or would not accept if she was diagnosed as being end of life. The Will revealed that P had specific wishes on how she did not want to be artificially fed or receive medication at this time and that she wanted to die with dignity. The hospital therefore agreed to discharge P so that they could receive palliative care at the care home where they lived.”
“It is imperative that as a Deputy, you act with due diligence when making decisions for P. As this case demonstrates, by conducting a Certainty Will Search and locating their Will, the Deputy was able to fulfil their duties of acting in P’s best interest and ensure that her last wishes were adhered to so that she could pass away in accordance to how she wanted.”