Locating a Will

Losing a loved one is emotionally devastating, and locating their important documents like the Will can add stress during an already overwhelming time. This guide provides direction on how to search for and access these crucial papers, which ensure the deceased's final wishes are properly carried out.

Locating a deceased person’s Will and other crucial documents can be challenging and distressing for family members after a death. The Will details the deceased’s wishes for distributing their estate.
Important documents to locate include the Will, birth/marriage/death certificates, pension details, insurance policies, and bank account information. These will likely be needed later for obtaining probate/confirmation.

Steps to find a Will:

1. Search the deceased’s property thoroughly, including drawers and files. Look for details of a solicitor, will storage company, or Certainty Will registration certificate. If a Certainty Will Registration Certificate is located, this means it can be found on the National Will Register.

2. Contact local solicitors and will writers the deceased may have used.

3. Check with the deceased’s bank, though banks may only release information to the executor.

4. Search the National Will Register database, bearing in mind only executors can view Will contents. The National Will Register is essentially a Will database with currently around 9.4 million Wills stored in the system. There are three search options available, and prices start at £58.80 (as of April 2024) for a Will Register Search. However, it’s important to consider that there is no guarantee of locating an existing Will.

If no Will is found after exhaustive searches, the estate must follow intestacy rules for distribution set by law based on the deceased’s domicile.

To avoid such difficulties, it’s advisable to professionally store your Will and estate documents, providing peace of mind that your wishes will be carried out properly. Benefits include easy accessibility for executors and reduced family conflicts.