By Legal Futures’ Associates Certainty National Will Register
Clients do not always inform their loved ones that they have written a Will or where it is stored. This can cause additional stress to those dealing with the estate after they have passed away as they are unsure if a Will exists, resulting in them having to search in the deceased’s property for a copy or call local solicitors and Will writers which is both time consuming and stressful. A Certainty Will Search alleviates this problem by quickly searching for Wills that have been registered on The National Will Register and for Wills that have not yet been registered in areas where the deceased used to live or work. In this case study, Susan Wilkinson, Solicitor at Scott Duff & Co. explains a recent case where she assisted the son of the deceased who was in a similar situation prior to a Will being located at the firm.
Susan comments: “After the deceased passed away, her son was unsure whether his mother had written a Will. Although leading up to her death he assisted his mother with her affairs, she was a very private lady who did not share with him whether she had written one. After she passed away, her son found himself in a situation where he did not know if a Will existed and if there was one, where it was stored. That is when he was advised by a solicitor to contact The National Will Register to conduct a Certainty Will Search to ensure that he had done everything possible to locate a Will before proceeding with the estate distribution process.”
A Certainty Will Search was conducted and quickly located a registered Will at member firm Scott Duff & Co.
Susan comments: “As the firm register all of the Wills we write; we were quickly notified that somebody was searching for a Will of a client we held a Will for. Within three days of the search being conducted, we were able to confirm that we held a Will and made contact with the searcher to confirm their identity and right to view the Will and request a copy of the death certificate.”
“The Will appointed the searcher and his partner as the executors of the estate. The majority of the £140,000 estate was left to her son but the Will also included cash gifts to friends which would not have been upheld if the Will had not been located and the estate distributed as intestate. The firm were able to assist the son in transferring the deceased’s property to him and offer additional legal advice.”
Susan concludes: “At Scott Duff & Co. we recognise the benefits that Will Registration and Certainty Will Search offers to both our clients and the firm. This is why we register all of our clients’ Wills, which ensures that they can be easily located, such as in this case, in the future. The firm also conduct a Certainty Will Search on every probate matter where the firm are the professional executors of the estate and always advise lay executors on a Will search being conducted. This offers additional protection to our clients and the firm as it ensures that everything has been done to confirm that we are in possession of the last Will, or that the deceased died intestate, and therefore eliminates the risk that the estate will be distributed incorrectly.”