46% of adults do not have a Will in the UK, and 5.4 million adults do not know where to begin when it comes to making a Will. Around 99% of those who write down a Will entrust it to the care of their solicitor. Finding a person’s Will after their death can sometimes be challenging. However, in this write-up, we will explain where to look for the Will and what to do if you cannot find it.
When someone dies, arrangements have to be made to administer their Estate. This includes dealing with their house, bank accounts, tax affairs, investments, and ensuring that whatever is left is accurately distributed to those entitled to inherit it.
The Will is a legal document setting out how they would like their Estate to be allocated after their demise. The Will appoints an executor, who is the individual with the legal authority to administer the Estate.
The Executor may have to receive a Grant of Probate to carry out their obligations in full. They will then outline the beneficiaries and set out what they should inherit from the Estate.
What if the deceased did not leave a Will?
In a situation where the deceased did not leave a Will, or if the Will cannot be located, then the Estate will be allocated in line with inheritance laws called the Rules of Intestacy. These rules, however, are strict and may not agree with the deceased’s wishes. This is why it is crucial to establish whether there is a Will and to locate it, if so successfully.
How do I find a Will?
1. Survey the house
It may sound funny, but the first place you should look at is the deceased’s home since many people store their Will or a copy of it in their homes. If you are aware of a safe in the deceased’s home or locked drawers where they keep paperwork, then it would be a logical place to start the search.
Although an Executor must locate the Will, it is strongly recommended that you seek agreement from the deceased family before searching the house, to avoid any allegations of trespass.
2. Inquire from their solicitor
In situations where the deceased used a solicitor or other professional to write their Will, likely, this professional would still be holding the Will for them. Get in touch with their solicitor. If you are the Executor, you would be eligible to obtain the Will from whoever is storing it.
3. Carry out a Will search
Some corporations can carry out searches to locate missing Wills. These corporations will search through Wills that are stocked by solicitors and Will writers all over the country, as well as carrying out more specified searches near the deceased’s home. They may also search the National Wills Register.
What happens if the Will cannot be found?
It would be assumed that the deceased did not leave one, and the Estate would be distributed under this assumption. In this situation, the Estate would be administered by the next of kin, in line with the Rules of Intestacy.
Are you looking for the Will of a loved one and not having much success? Contact us a probate solicitor who can provide the necessary support and information needed.
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