There is no requirement to register a will through a central registry of Wills for England and Wales.
Typically a Will is held by the Solicitor who drafted it and the first approach should be to the deceased’s Solicitor.
If the original Will has not been lodged with a Solicitor, it could be kept at home or with a family member.
If the original Will cannot be found (or a photocopy can be located but not the original), then further steps need to be taken.
The Will is a private document and only becomes a public document when Grant of Probate is issued. However, you need to locate the Will in order to apply for Grant of Probate.
A search can be conducted at all local Solicitors’ firms. We can undertake this for you, quickly and inexpensively.
Once the Grant has been issued the Will becomes a public document. There is no obligation to release a copy of the Will to anyone before the Grant.
There is an exception to this general rule where a person brings a claim against the validity of the Will in which case it is possible to obtain a copy as part of the pre-action disclosure process (and if necessary you can seek a Court Order to force its release).
Following the Grant of Probate, the Will (and Grant) becomes a public document and a copy can be obtained from the Probate Registry.
If the Grant of Probate may not yet have been issued, a Standing Search can be applied for. This is a search which continues for a fixed period of six months so that if an application for a Grant is made within that period, a copy of the Grant and Will is sent out.
Wills & LPAs - This has proved to be a fairly lengthy procedure and we are grateful for your clear guidance, communication and support. It has been a pleasure to work with you and we have no hesitation in seeking your help again if it should prove necessary.
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