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Locating the Will

How to locate a Will

There is no central registry of Wills for England and Wales. Typically a Will is held by the Solicitor who drafted it and the first approach should be to the deceased’s Solicitor.

If the original Will has not been lodged with a Solicitor, it could be kept at home or with a family member.

Missing Wills

If the original Will cannot be found (or a photocopy can be located but not the original), then further steps need to be taken.

Searching for Wills before a Grant of Probate

The Will is a private document and only becomes a public document when Grant of Probate is issued.  However, you need to locate the Will in order to apply for Grant of Probate.

A search can be conducted of all local Solicitors’ firms.  We can undertake this for you, quickly and inexpensively.

If Probate has been granted

Once the Grant has been issued the Will becomes a public document. There is no obligation to release a copy of the Will to anyone before the Grant.

There is an exception to this general rule where a person brings a claim against the validity of the Will in which case it is possible to obtain a copy as part of the pre-action disclosure process (and if necessary you can seek a Court Order to force its release).

Searching for Wills after a Grant of Probate has been made

Following the Grant of Probate, the Will (and Grant) becomes a public document and a copy can be obtained from the Probate Registry.

If the Grant of Probate may not yet have been issued, a Standing Search can be applied for.  This is a search which continues for a fixed period of six months so that if an application for a Grant is made within that period, a copy of the Grant and Will is sent out.

Please call us if you are struggling to locate a Will and our solicitors will be able to assist.

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