How To Get A Copy Of A Will

probate services
How To Get A Copy Of A Will

When a loved one passes away, it may be a trying and emotional time. In addition to dealing with the loss, there are essential legal issues that must be addressed, such as acquiring a copy of their will. A will is a legal document that expresses a person’s preferences regarding their assets and property when they die. It is a crucial document to have since it can help ensure that your loved one’s wishes are carried out and their estate is distributed as they intended.

Please keep in mind that when a will is granted probate in the United Kingdom, it becomes public record. This means that once the probate application is completed and granted, the will is made available for public inspection. The Probate Registry has a copy of the will that anybody can view. This transparency is critical for ensuring that the deceased’s intentions are carried out accurately and that assets are distributed in accordance with the terms of the will. Once the probate application has been completed, anyone may seek a copy of the will. If probate has not yet been awarded, you can submit form PA1S to request that a copy be supplied if it is granted within the next six months. This is known as a “standing search” and costs £3.

Why is having a will important?

A will is a crucial component of estate planning. It allows a person to choose how their assets and property should be disbursed after their death. Without a will, the division of assets and property will be determined by the law of intestacy, which may not reflect the deceased’s preferences. A will might also help to avert potential problems among family members and loved ones. It specifies how the deceased desired their inheritance to be handled, limiting the possibility of probate disputes and court battles.

What Happens If There Is No Will?

A person’s death without a will is referred to as “intestate.” In this instance, the Law of Intestacy governs how their assets and property will be divided. This process can be time-consuming and costly, and it may not reflect the deceased’s intentions. Furthermore, if the dead do not leave a will, the court will appoint an administrator to manage the estate. This person may not have been chosen by the deceased, which might cause delays and issues in asset distribution.

What Happens if a Will is Found After the Estate Has Been Distributed?

If a will is discovered after the estate has been distributed according to the statutes of intestacy, the situation can get complicated. In such circumstances, the legal process may include disputing the distribution of assets under the newly revealed will. As you may expect, this could be complicated if assets have already been allocated and could potentially be sold or spent. It might also be a highly controversial situation, with the beneficiaries under intestacy battling the beneficiaries named in the will. Furthermore, if the estate administrators fail to demonstrate that they took appropriate efforts to locate a copy of the will at the time of the probate application, they may be held personally accountable for the mistake.

How to Get a Copy of a Will

To trace a missing will in the UK, here’s a comprehensive guide to follow:

  1. Conduct a thorough search of the deceased’s residence, exploring safes, filing cabinets, drawers, and any other possible storage areas for vital documents.
  2. Get in touch with the deceased’s solicitor, who may have assisted in drafting the will; they could possess a copy in their records.
  3. Contact the Probate Registry to check if the deceased had registered their will with them, potentially yielding a copy on file.
  4. Approach banks and financial institutions the deceased dealt with, as they might hold information regarding the existence of a will or safe deposit box.
  5. Reach out to family members, friends, or close acquaintances of the deceased to inquire if they have any insights on the will’s location.
  6. Explore online will registries, like the National Will Register in the UK, to see if the deceased has registered their will digitally.
  7. Consider placing advertisements in local newspapers or online platforms to appeal for information regarding the missing will.
  8. If all else fails, seek assistance from a professional probate research company or a solicitor specialising in will disputes to aid in the search for the missing document.

Missing Will Insurance

If there is a suspicion that a will exists but cannot be discovered, administrators may be able to obtain Missing Will Insurance; however, any insurance company offering such a policy will expect considerable efforts to locate the will. They will expect proof of the above-mentioned actions.

What Does Missing Will Insurance Cover

Legal expenditures, court costs, and possible financial losses due to the inability to locate a will after death are usually covered by missing will insurance. If a will is discovered after the estate has been disbursed under the statutes of intestacy, this sort of insurance can help insulate the administrators from personal culpability. If a dispute arises as a result of the missing will, this policy can help pay for the costs associated with settling it and fighting the distribution of assets according to the newly found will.

Avatar of DLS Solicitors by DLS Solicitors
16th May 2024
Avatar of DLS Solicitors
DLS Solicitors

Our team of professionals are based in Alderley Edge, Cheshire. We offer clear, specialist legal advice in all matters relating to Family Law, Wills, Trusts, Probate, Lasting Power of Attorney and Court of Protection.

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