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Wills

A Detailed Guide on How to Find a Will When Someone Dies

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Simply put, a will is a legal document and declaration of a person’s wishes regarding their property and estate after death.

Some people do not have a will before they die and others don’t leave instructions on where to find the will.

You may have some questions.

  • Where do I begin looking for a will?
  • How can I view a will?
  • What happens if someone dies without a will?

Whether you’re the executor, next of kin, or feel the need to challenge an executor, in this guide, we’ll help answer these questions.

Where do I begin looking for a will?

If you are looking to find a will after someone has passed, here are a few places you could start looking.

The home

Hopefully, the deceased has been organized about where they have left important documents. Many people will have a folder or file where they store significant information. If the will itself isn’t there, hopefully, there is a letter to indicate which solicitor helped write the will.

Solicitors

Despite being able to write your own will, the majority of people are still using a solicitor to write their will (get a will with us people! 👀). Solicitors should have a copy of the will on file and you’ll be able to obtain this from them if you’re the executor with identification and have a death certificate of the deceased.

If you’re not sure what solicitor has been used, try to find some documentation of them using a solicitor for anything else, as it’s likely they’ve used the same one more than once.

National Wills Register

This may seem like the most obvious place to start, but it’s not mandatory for every will to be registered on their database. Therefore, there’s a chance it’s not on the system or not created at all. After you have searched, if there is an existence of a will, the professional holding the information will contact you directly.

How can I view a will?

Once you know it exists, you may need to apply for probate. You can apply for probate if you’re in the will or the executor of the will. This means applying for the legal right to settle or deal with someone’s estate. However, not every will requires a grant of probate, such as those with a small estate or if all of the assets are joined with someone else.

If probate is given, and you’re in England or Wales, there will be a record of the will stored with the government. These records usually appear around two weeks after probate has been granted. In Scotland, you’d have to contact the Sheriff Court and in Northern Ireland, it would be the Public Record Office.

What happens if someone dies without a will?

So you’ve exhausted all avenues and you’re fairly certain they didn’t have a will. Now, only married or civil partners and some other close relatives can inherit under these rules. If there are no surviving relatives, the estate passes to the Crown who is then responsible for dealing with it.

Is a will important?

Of course. If someone dies unexpectedly without a will, then it’s hard to truly know what their wishes were. Some family relationships are also quite complicated and in these situations, not having a will can make the whole process a lot harder. Depending on family dynamics, things can be divided up easily or end up in court.

Dealing with an estate without a will pretty much always takes longer and could cause burdens for your family and friends . Whether you need someone to talk to, or need help creating and storing a will, Bequest can help. Let us be there for you.

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FF Bequest Limited, trading as Bequest, is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority with firm reference number 923791. You can check our authorisation on the FCA Financial Services Register by visiting the following website: register.fca.org.uk . We are registered in England and Wales, Registered office address: Founders Factory, Northcliffe House, London, United Kingdom, W8 5EH. Company Number 12367897.

Regulated by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) [ZA662891]. “Bequest" is trademark protected by FF Bequest Limited (UK00003452648). FF Bequest Limited is registered in England and Wales, No 12367897.

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FF Bequest Limited, trading as Bequest, is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority with firm reference number 923791. You can check our authorisation on the FCA Financial Services Register by visiting the following website: register.fca.org.uk . We are registered in England and Wales, Registered office address: Founders Factory, Northcliffe House, London, United Kingdom, W8 5EH. Company Number 12367897.

Regulated by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) [ZA662891]. “Bequest" is trademark protected by FF Bequest Limited (UK00003452648). FF Bequest Limited is registered in England and Wales, No 12367897.

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