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How Do I Find a Will?

By: J.A.J Aaronson - Updated: 1 May 2016 | comments*Discuss
 
Will Location Finding A Will Probate

Writing a will is amongst the most important steps you can take to ensure that your estate is dealt with in the manner that you would wish. A worrying number of people do not make a will, presuming that it is necessary only for those with particularly complex affairs.

However, many of those who do write wills fail to let their executors or beneficiaries know where that document is held. As such, many people end up struggling to find a deceased individual’s will – a task that few would wish to undertake at such a difficult time.

How do I find a will?

If you need to find a will, there are a number of methods that you should consider using. It will obviously help if you knew the individual in question well, as you may be more likely to guess where they would have thought to keep it. In any case, you should consider the following options when trying to find a will:

In the home

Many people keep a copy of their will in the home. Try looking in places where other legal or financial documents are kept. If there is a copy in the house, it is likely to be with other legal correspondence – particularly letters or other documents from the individual’s solicitor.

Solicitors
People often lodge a copy of their will with their solicitor. If you know who their solicitor was, you should contact them directly. Bear in mind that it might be necessary to provide a death certificate before the solicitor will give you the will. If the deceased individual did not retain the services of a solicitor, the will might be lodged with the firm that drafted the document.

Bank
If the deceased individual was one of the lucky few to still have a bank manager, they may well have chosen to entrust their will to this individual. Again, remember that you will almost certainly have to provide a copy of a death certificate and proof that you are a next of kin.

‘Will finder’ databases
If you have previously searched online for information about finding a will, the likelihood is that you will have arrived at a so-called ‘will finder’ database at some point. These sites purport to be able to help you find a will (and, in some cases, trust documents). In reality, though, it is unusual for these databases to provide much help. They rely on solicitors or individuals lodging their wills with the database of their own accord; clearly, relatively few solicitors do this. There is currently no central database for the storage and location of wills.

As can be seen, finding a will can be a difficult process – particularly if you don’t have access to clues like the name of the individual’s solicitor. However, if you are sure that the deceased individual definitely wrote a will you should try as hard as possible to find it; failure to do so will result in the estate being dealt with according to probate law – which is unlikely to be in accordance with the wishes of the individual.

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Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Bongo - Your Question:
My father died in December 2014, leaving myself and half brother as executors. Myhalf brother has taken it upon himself unbeknowing to me an closed all my fathers accounts and converscating all funds.He has produced an old will going back to 1989, which he has had a copy in his possession for several years, showing himslf as the main beneficial. He has not spoken to my father in years. I believe my dad has written another will but dont know where to look.can you inform me where to look.

Our Response:
You need try the resources suggested in the above article (e.g Home, solicitors, Bank, will finders' databases etc).
TheWillExpert - 4-May-16 @ 10:56 AM
My father died in December 2014, leaving myself and half brother as executors. Myhalf brother has taken it upon himself unbeknowing to me an closed all my fathers accounts and converscating all funds. He has produced an old will going back to 1989, which he has had a copy in his possession for several years, showing himslf as the main beneficial. He has not spoken to my father in years. I believe my dad has written another will but dont know where to look. can you inform me where to look.
Bongo - 1-May-16 @ 10:31 AM
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