The National Will Register



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Posted 27 December, 2018 12:04:30
A Review Of The Wills And Probate Sector In 2018
As 2018 is coming to an end, we can review and re-cap what has happened in the Wills and probate industry. There has been big changes in the past 12 months which will effect the sector going forward which has included key Government related announcements and thought-provoking research papers which could transform the future of the sector.
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Posted 18 December, 2018 10:46:12
Lost Will leads to lost inheritance
When someone dies, finding a Will can be complicated for the family. At an emotional time, sifting through decades of the deceased’s paperwork to understand if a Will exists and indeed, if one is found, is it the last Will? Even when a Will is found, finding where the original is held can present further challenges. These are all too common problem...
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Posted 12 December, 2018 12:23:00
The fascinating case of Alexander Wilson: A Contentious Probate perspective
Actress Ruth Wilson is currently appearing on our screens playing her own grandmother, Alison Wilson, telling the story of her life with her husband, Alexander Wilson, and discoveries made about his life after his death. The programme is based on Alison Wilson’s memoirs and is a fascinating story of bigamy, secret lives and multiple families. They...
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Posted 10 December, 2018 15:18:45
A Will made in the Silver Jubilee prevents intestacy
Every day Certainty Will Search prevents estates being distributed incorrectly because an unknown Will exists. In the majority of cases these Wills are unknown to the client and the professional dealing with the estate and without any indication that they exist.

In the below probate, two Wills were known about, a homemade Will and a Will...
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Posted 19 November, 2018 10:40:59
When Best Practice in Will Writing & Probate Reside Side-by-Side
In a recent Certainty Will Search find, best practice prevailed to provide the client with protection and peace of mind.

Victoria Wadsworth, Legal Secretary, Wadsworth Solicitors, a highly reputable family-run solicitors and members of Certainty the National Will Register tells us: “When the executor of the estate approached us, they alr...
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Posted 09 November, 2018 15:14:39
Solved in 60 Seconds - Lost Will, closed law firm, right recommendation
Mr Robinson comments: “When my uncle passed away, we were holding a copy of a 1989 Will. Due to lots of family dynamics and circumstances changing since then, we wanted to check that there wasn’t a later Will before applying for probate. If this was the last Will we also needed to locate the original – the firm who wrote the Will were no longer in...
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Posted 08 November, 2018 10:01:55
Legal Winners use Certainty the National Will Register
The British Wills and Probate Awards 2018 took place in October. The awards recognised the successes of those in the Wills and Probate sector. The award ceremony was hosted by Broadcaster and journalist Jennie Bond and lived up to all expectations. The event was a sell-out making it a definite fixture for the legal awards calendar.

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Posted 25 October, 2018 12:17:45
Why Professionals are Aware of the Unknown
Treethorpe is a leading firm of professional forensic genealogists and researchers, tracing heirs and beneficiaries to deceased estates.

Jonathan Dattani, Team Leader and Senior Case Manager at Treethorpe explains the case: “Treethorpe were referred this case from a Local Authority who believed that the estate was an intestacy matter. A...
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Posted 16 October, 2018 16:00:36
Over 65 and living with your partner? What can I do to protect my legal position?
by Samantha Hirst, Contentious Probate Solicitor at Ridley & Hall Solicitors, member of Certainty Contentious Probate Hub and Area

According to the Royal London there are more than 300,000 over-65s in England and Wales who are not married and live together. The number of cohabiting couples aged between 65 and 69 years old trebled...
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Posted 09 October, 2018 15:13:30
Purely Precautionary Measure to Provide Added Protection
Biscoes is a very longstanding law firm established over 160 years ago and a member of Certainty the National Will Register. Committed to the provision of a traditional and locally based legal service providing first class service throughout their seven offices, they also have a 21st Century approach to best practice and risk management!

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Posted 27 September, 2018 11:55:26
Certainty Now Have Cross-Border Will Search Capability
In addition to searching in England and Wales, Certainty the National Will Register now provides the capability to search law firms and Will writers to see if a Will exists in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

How does this help me?
You may be distributing an estate where the deceased lived in England or Wales but had family roots, or...
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Posted 17 September, 2018 12:40:53
The search is simple, the unforeseen complications might not be
Afonwy Howell-Pryce, Solicitor, Head of Private Client at Robertsons Solicitors: “Having used Certainty numerous times to find a Will of the deceased, Robertsons thought it would be advantageous to also register our Wills. Not only does it assist bereaved people trying to locate a Will but also adds security to our clients to know that their Will i...
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Posted 10 September, 2018 14:18:30
What happens if a client dies in the midst of a litigation case?
You are part way through, or possibly near the end, of a difficult contentious case when your client suddenly dies. The client could be the claimant or defendant. What do you do? This can be a problematic circumstance but, luckily, not one we are faced with too often.

The starting point is to identify who can continue the claim on behalf...
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Posted 15 August, 2018 13:36:12
Certainty steps taken ensured step-children inherited
The following case study outlines just how important it is to use a Certainty Will Search. Thousands of solicitors now make no assumptions or prejudgment surrounding the existence of a Will or which is the last Will. They simply include Certainty Will Search as part of their process to either find an unknown or undisclosed Will or prove that a Will...
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Posted 13 August, 2018 10:40:30
Equiniti Announces Partnership With Certainty The National Will Register
Equiniti, the specialist administrator receiving over 50% of death notifications in the UK each year is delighted to announce its partnership with Certainty the National Will Register.

This strategic relationship will enable Equiniti’s bereavement services team, to offer all of its customers’ access to the Certainty Will Search and the N...
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Posted 10 August, 2018 16:40:50
A Turning Point in Digital Immortality
A couple of recent cases suggest that we could be on the cusp of intestacy and privacy laws stepping in to help assert control over your digital footprint after death, writes Amy Bradbury

In the UK there is no specific legal framework for dealing with digital assets on death and, given we usually don’t own social media profiles (all we h...
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Posted 25 July, 2018 12:20:54
Certainty Will Search searches for more than you may think
The World Cup ended a couple of weeks ago, and although England did not quite get their hands on the trophy, in 1966 they did.

We discover Wills dating back decades:

In 1966 a Will was written by a man whose grandson would go on to become the Guinness World Record holder for memory: David Thomas aka The Memory Man. He recite...
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Posted 09 July, 2018 10:43:43
The National Will Register and the new national Death Notification Service
Last week a new Death Notification Service launched meaning grieving families no longer have to call multiple banks to inform them of a death.

The service can be completed by filling in a single form online or by making one phone call. The service has been set up to assist families who previously would have faced multiple calls to banks...
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Posted 04 June, 2018 9:57:25
Someone's died! How do you know if there is a Will?
By Andre Davidson

A Will which is not found is the same as a Will which does not exist.

The issue:

Many children will not know if their parents have made a Will, and even if they do know, they may not know where to find it. So begins the hunt looking in all the obvious, and not so obvious, places to see if a Will ex...
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Posted 30 May, 2018 10:09:54
Wall V Munday – Case Focus
The recent appeal case of Wall v Munday [2018] EWHC 879 (Ch) has provided a useful update in relation to properties co-owned as both joint tenants and tenants in common.

Bryan Wall and Christine Munday married in 1969 and divorced in 1974. During that marriage, they bought a house (7 Wellsmoor Gardens) as joint tenants. Following their s...
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Posted 10 May, 2018 11:24:50
The Case of the Torn Up Will
The Contentious Trusts and Probate Department at Meridian Private Client advise clients on the options available to them when a loved one passes away and they have been apparently disinherited or a family member is acting suspiciously to the client’s detriment.

The below case study outlines how and why solicitors dealing with contentious...
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Posted 09 May, 2018 14:21:28
Why use a Certainty Will Search when the validity of a Will is in dispute?
by Anna Wonnacott

I am regularly approached by members of the public who have concerns about whether or not a person’s Will is valid.

For a Will to be valid, it must:

Have been made in accordance with section 9 of the Wills Act 1937 (it is in writing, signed by the testator (or by another in their presence and...
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Posted 27 April, 2018 10:38:04
Devastavit: The Legal Pitfalls For Executors
Being an executor can be a huge responsibility. Probate law in England and Wales is notoriously tricky to navigate at the best of times, and executors can and will be held responsible for anything that goes wrong. The Trustee Act 2000 imposes a statutory duty of care on all executors; the liability for breaching this can be unlimited and personal t...
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Posted 25 April, 2018 9:47:47
Alzheimer’s and the blur between Wills and marriage
Family disputes about wills and inheritance are never pleasant, but made worse when a relative’s mental capacity is questioned, writes Hannah Solel

‘Sailing into the dark,’ was how novelist Iris Murdoch described her own degeneration – and indeed it is many people’s fear that one day the mind won’t be working but the body will. It is, of...
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Posted 10 April, 2018 11:32:25
Intestacy? Let the search be the judge of that
Outlined below are two case studies following Certainty Will Searches last week where the estates were ‘believed’ to be intestate and the solicitors involved provided polar opposite advice to their clients.

Case Study 1
The immediate next-of-kin informed their solicitor that the deceased did not have a Will. The solicitor took thei...
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Posted 23 March, 2018 10:49:06
Will Writer Checks for Non-SRA Regulated Organisations
Checking whether a will writer of a non-SRA regulated organisation is holding a will for the estate that you are about to distribute can now be done via a Certainty search.

When you use a combined Certainty will search, you can now include a sunshine and laptopsearch of will writers from both the Institute of Professional Will Writers (...
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Posted 23 March, 2018 10:32:53
Free Will Bank Registration - 22nd March to 22nd April 2018
In the last Certainty News Room article we highlighted that in January and February 2018, 45% of Certainty Will Searches carried out by the general public found an ‘unknown’ Will.

This increase in finds following a Certainty Will Search was due to the rise in mortalities in the first seven weeks of 2018 and the introduction of the capabi...
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Posted 20 March, 2018 15:32:49
Carrying out a will search: you may be surprised by what you find
Why a search for a lost, unknown or latest will is worth considering.

In January and February 2018, Certainty will searches by the public (rather than through their solicitor) resulted in a record high of 45 per cent of the searches finding a will.

To find out more, Certainty took feedback from 100 people who’d carried out a C...
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Posted 20 March, 2018 15:27:17
E&W: Legal daughter ordered to take DNA test to prove parentage
The England and Wales High Court has directed the younger daughter of the late Colin Birtles to be DNA-tested, to verify whether she is indeed his biological daughter, and thus has an interest in his estate.

Both Lorraine Freeman and her elder sister Janice Nield-Moir were born to Birtles' wife Veronica in the early sixties. Their parent...
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Posted 08 March, 2018 12:12:16
Public Will Search Finds Hit 45% Record High in January & February 2018
In January and February 2018, Certainty Will Searches undertaken by members of the public have produced some interesting results that are worth noting.

Certainty Will Searches instigated directly by the public (rather than through their solicitor) resulted in 45% of the searches finding a Will.

The Certainty Will Search team t...
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Posted 13 February, 2018 10:00:48
Do you check that a Will Writer (non-SRA regulated organisation) is not holding a Will or a later Will for the estate that you are about to distribute?
We are pleased to announce that when you use a Certainty Will Search Combined you can now include a search of Will Writers from both the Institute of Professional Will Writers (IPW) and The Society of Will Writers (SWW) in your search.

So why is this important?

These are two key organisations that are not regulated by the SR...
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Posted 25 January, 2018 16:34:53
Law Firm Procedures Protect Their Clients After Death
When a member of the public performs a Certainty Will Search it does not disclose the existence of a Will, should one exist. If a Will was written and a positive match is made the searcher’s details are sent directly to the firm that holds the Will for them to make contact.

21% of Certainty Will Searches instigated by a member of the pu...
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Posted 10 January, 2018 16:48:18
The Rise and Rise of Contentious Probate
by Tony Pearce

Disputes over inheritance are not new. Those who have considered ancient history will be aware that the Greeks and Romans established rules for the disposition of a person’s money and property on death. In his book ‘Bleak House’ Charles Dickens wrote a fictional account involving the case of Jarndyce v Jarndyce which amoun...
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Posted 08 January, 2018 11:04:25
The Citizens Advice, Advice on Intestacy
Content that regularly ‘trends’ in its thousands on the Citizens Advice website is ‘who can inherit if there is no Will’ and searches via Google to their site ‘intestacy rules’.

In 2016-17, Citizens Advice helped 2.7 million people: face to face, over the phone, by email and via webchat. They had a massive 43 million visits to their web...
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