Lost original will ?
What happens if you can only find a Copy of a will ?
It is important to appreciate that the original will is required when probate is applied for. As a result of this it is important that the original is located. This can often prove very difficult, particularly if the will was made many years ago. As a result of this, we would always suggest looking or contacting the following:-
- The organisation that drafted the original will : if a solicitor their name will normally be on it or the will writer
- If the solicitor cannot be located you can contact the Solicitors Regulation Authority – they will be able to confirm who took over the solicitors firm if it has been closed ( often referred to a successors practice )
- The will search company called certainty. Their details can be found by clicking here
- Local law Society’s are often very useful in contacting local solicitors – you can see the full list by clicking here
- You can check with the London probate registry they do store wills
- Check with local will writers and solicitors or the Deceased’s bank
Only a Copy Will Can be Found
If after trying all of the above places to search, only a copy of a will can be located what then ?
In very rare circumstances, an application to admit a copy of a will can be made to the probate registry. When making the application there are a number of issues. These are as follows :-
- The probate court will require a detailed affidavit addressing what searches have been made for the will, and the testators intentions. This is important as there maybe evidence that the deceased made a later will,and
- The Second issue, is that the probate court will require evidence from any blood relative that maybe prejudiced by the copy will. In other words what would have arisen if the deceased died intestate. The reason for this is that there is a presumption that if no will is located, and it was in the deceased’s custody, then there is a presumption in law that the will has been revoked.
What Do Next ?
We are one of the few firms that genuinely specialise in lost original / copy will cases. We have dealt with cases :-
- where the original was lost by a bank after the death of a testator
- lost by a lost solicitor
- issues when there is a dispute between beneficiaries in a copy will and under intestacy
- issues as to whether a deceased made a later will
If you have issues with a lost original will, call us on 0845 269 3571 or fill in the contact form and we can help you.