How to Find a Will

More about How to Find a Will

It is not essential to find the Will before the funeral. However, it is best to find it (or at least a copy) as soon as possible after the death.

It is not essential to find the Will before the funeral. However, it is best to find it (or at least a copy) as soon as possible after the death because:

The person who has died may have said in the Will what kind of funeral he or she wanted The administration of the estate goes more smoothly if the executors are involved from the outset.

People who get solicitors to make their Wills for them often keep a copy of the Will with their important papers.

The original is usually kept by the solicitors' firm: the address and phone number of the firm is often on the cover of the copy Will.

If you cannot find a Will (or a copy) in the home of the person who has died, ask the person's bank and his or her solicitors if they know where it is. You can also:

Conduct a Certainty Will Search which is used by several law firms to register Wills Check whether the person who has died left his Will with the Principal Registry of the Family Division You can search for the Will either by contacting the Principal Registry or a district registry in another area close to you or searching for a Will online. The general term used for either the Principal Registry or a district registry is the Probate Registry Place advertisements in the Law Society's Gazette asking for information about a Will that the person who died might have made.

You can contact any solicitor whose practice includes Wills and Probate.

A solicitor can help with the searches for the Will and can also explain what happens to the property of an individual who dies without leaving a Will.

When this happens, administrators are appointed: they are usually close relatives of the person who has died and they have authority to deal with the estate in much the same way as executors.

Do you have a legal right to see the Will?

Do you have a legal right to see the Will?

Only the executors appointed in a Will are entitled to see the Will before probate is granted.

If you are not an executor, the solicitors of the person who has died or the person's bank, if it has the Will, cannot allow you to see it or send you a copy of it, unless the executors agree.

However, they can tell you who the executors are. They can also let you know what the Will, or a note kept with it, says about the kind of funeral the person wanted.

Our dedicated Wills, Probate, Tax & Trusts team

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Partner, Wills, Probate, Tax & Trusts

Jane Burbidge

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Partner, Wills, Probate, Tax & Trusts

Victoria Motley

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Senior Associate, Wills, Probate, Tax & Trusts

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