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How Do I Find A Will When Someone Dies?

Life Insurance

If someone you know has died, you may not know if there is a will or not. This may be a problem if you want to know who is going to receive money from the estate. You may also have a problem, if you know that a will does exist but the executor will not tell you what is in it.

If you find yourself in either of these situations, you need to understand how to find a will. Here is some important information that should help you with your search.

Finding a will before probate

If someone has died, and you do not know if there was a will, there are a few places to check.

Look in the person's home.

Many people write a will and keep it close to them, so it makes sense to check their home. If you think you will find this difficult to do, you should ask someone to support you.

Ask local solicitors.

If you know that the person who has died had previously used a local solicitor, check if they have the will. If they do not, you should ask around other solicitors in the local area.

Search the National Will Register.

The National Will Register contains details of millions of wills that are registered. You can search this register. You are also able to search for wills that are not registered. At time of writing, the cost for this service is £45.60 for a will register search and £114.00 for a will search combined. You need the will search combined when the will is not registered.

How to find a will when probate is complete

If you are not the executor of a will, you will not be able to see it, if a solicitor has it. However, it's often necessary to have a grant of probate, before settling an estate. When a grant is applied for, a copy of the will is kept by the government.

You can apply to see this copy. You simply need to search the probate records for England and Wales. You can do this online and it costs £1.50 for every copy of a probate record that you request. You can also fill in a PA1S form and search for a probate record by post. You will pay the same amount for this service.

Probate records are only available 14 days after probate has been granted. You may want to register a standing search for six months if there is no record of probate when you first search. You do this by completing a PA1S form and paying a £10 charge.

When you carry out a search of probate records, you need to know the following details for the person who has died:

  • Full name
  • Date of death
  • Last know address

Finding a will online in Scotland

If you are trying to find a will in Scotland, you can search the Registers of Scotland online. If the will is not registered, there is no charge for this service. If you do find the will, and want a copy, the cost is currently £16 + VAT for a plain copy and £30 + VAT for an extract. If you are looking for a will from before 15 March 1993, you should search the National Records of Scotland instead.

Finding a will in Northern Ireland

If you need to find a will in Northern Island, you should check the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) online.

You can put the information in this article to use, to help you find the will that you are looking for.

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