Protect your firm from contentious probate claims

Last year it was reported that the contentious probate market has more than doubled in England and Wales between 2018 and 2022, with 80% of contentious probate firms confident of increased workloads.

There is a myriad of reasons why such claims are on the rise; the increase in online and DIY wills alongside complex family situations are just two such factors, but solicitors and law firms, spurred not only by a flurry of dispute activity in the market but also by more aware professional indemnity insurance firms, have seen the need to be more concerned about contentious probate claims.

One of the easiest ways to ensure that contentious probate claims do not come against a law firm is to establish facts and administer estates without doubt. With that, establishing testacy, or the lack thereof, is paramount.

The National Will Register, through its Certainty Will Search solution, offers executors and beneficiaries the ability to search registered and unregistered Wills through its database and search functions. One in five Wills found through a Certainty Will Search impacts estate administration as a Will either not known prior to the search or superseding a held Will.

With a fifth of Wills impacting the way an estate is to be administered through The National Will Register’s Certainty Will Search function, consider how many estates could have been wrongly administered if a search was not undertaken and the estate was considered intestate, or a previous Will was used.

By searching for Wills with The National Will Register, firms are protecting themselves from contentious probate claims where the wrong Will was used or the estate was assumed intestate. By carrying out the correct wishes in accordance with the Will or intestacy rules, it is unlikely that contentious probate claims are likely to be brought against the firm.

Discover 10 reasons to Will Search by clicking here

With membership to The National Will Register, you have access to the easiest way to search for Wills, providing yourself and clients with peace of mind, as well as credits to use against searches every year. Membership also includes free Will bank registration, which means that you are protecting your clients from having their Wills forgotten or untraced at the time they are needed as well – which further reduces the chance of contentious probate claims.

Membership with The National Will Register

Law firms can become members of The National Will Register, giving them access to a number of useful benefits for their private client department including:

  • Free Will bank/database registration
  • Free ad-hoc Will registration
  • 1440 Certainty Will Search credits
  • Access to our online TOUCH Will management platform
  • First access to our Expert Webinar series
  • Exposure opportunities for your firm including a listing on our ‘find a Wills and Probate solicitor’ page and opportunities to submit case studies, articles and lead webinars

We have many endorsements and affiliations with key organisations in the legal profession including The Law Society, Citizens Advice, The Gazette, SFE, as well as legal opinions from Thomas Dumont KC and referenced in practice notes by Lexis Nexis, Practical Law Company, the Law Society’s Probate Practitioners Handbook and Tolley’s Administration of Estates.

We’re also featured on PII forms and guidance, used by the Government Legal Department (Bona Vacantia Division) as well as The Official Solicitor website.

Click to enquire about membership for your firm