Five things you should do if you can’t find the Will
You think you are the executor of the Will, but you cannot find it anywhere in the deceased’s possessions. What should you do?
If you cannot find it, the court may either reject its existence or presume it was destroyed and revoked. To help prove the validity of a missing Will, try the following.
- Contact any banks, law firms or other professionals the deceased used. They may have a copy. Certainly ask the Will writer. You may be able to find useful paperwork from the Will writer in the deceased’s paperwork even if the Will itself is absent.
- Check the National Will Archive and the Certainty will register. They may have a record of the Will: but note, in the UK there is no obligatory “central register” for Wills.
- Ask family and friends, or professional contacts of the deceased, whether they might know where it could be. Ask whether the deceased had any changes of heart recently. Ask after the identity of the witnesses to the Will.
- If you know who the witnesses are, try to gather as much information from them about that Will as you can: where and when it was attested, its content, any record or recollections they have which prove the time and place of the attestation.
- If you have the witnesses of the Will, a copy of what the Will would have contained, and no proof that the Will was intentionally revoked or destroyed, you may be able to get affidavits (sworn statements) drafted for the witnesses and those who last saw the Will in order to prove the validity of the Will. Speak to SWW Trust Corporation if you reach this stage: we may be able to assist.