The National Will Register

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 exists.

Statistics say that 67% of people do not know where to find their parents’ Will.

Now let's say that you can't find mum's (or dad's) Will. You go to a probate practitioner and tell them that you think there's a Will but you can't find it. He says, “Well in that case we'll have to process the estate under the laws of intestacy."

However, the probate practitioner should make a check to see if mum had ever made a Will. Many practitioners are unlikely to do this; some may place an ad in the Law Society magazine. Research has shown that this is unlikely to produce any results.

But let's say that, luckily, a solicitor recalls having made a Will for mum 20 years ago. The Will is obtained, and you think everything is okay.

But how would you know if that is the most current Will? Was there one made later?

The problem with finding a Will is that the solicitor who may have written a Will for mum will not know that mum has passed away as nobody has notified him, probably because nobody knows that he wrote the Will for mum in the first place!

The solution:

Use Certainty the National Will Register, to which many solicitors and Will writers now subscribe.

Today, what any probate practitioner should do is to contact the National Will Register which will check if there is a Will registered for mum (for a fee, of course). In fact, a private individual who has a legitimate interest can also contact the National Will Register to find out if a Will exists.

The National Will Register, launched in 2008, currently has 7.7 million Wills registered, and 1 in 10 searches results in a Will being located where the estate was presumed intestate or a later Will being discovered that would supersede the Will being used to distribute the estate. This figure is likely to rise as more and more Wills are registered in the future. This is a much, much better strike rate than anything that has been available previously.

A benefit:

So one of the benefits my clients have is that if their Will is written and stored through me, their Will is automatically registered with the National Will Register and can be found in a future search.

Original article published by: Andre Davidson
Date: Friday 25th May 2018
Full article:

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