From Legal Futures’ Associate Certainty Will Search.
The World Cup ended a couple of weeks ago, and although England did not quite get their hands on the trophy, in 1966 they did.
We discover Wills dating back decades
In 1966 a Will was written by a man whose grandson would go on to become the Guinness World Record holder for memory: David Thomas aka The Memory Man. He recited Pi (3.14159…) to 22,500 digits from memory and without error, memorised 160 digits in 5 mins and memorised and recited 100 individually shuffled packs of playing cards; he is said to have one of the most powerful memories in history. However, when his grandfather died no one could remember if he had a Will.
David Thomas undertook a Certainty Will Search. A Will was found at a solicitor’s office where it had been for 52 years; written in 1966.
Certainty Will Searches locate Wills dating back decades held at law firms. No matter how long ago the Will was written, a Certainty Will Search can find it.
It is not unusual for a testator to write multiple Wills and not tell you
It is not unusual for the testator to make more than one Will within their lifetime. An executor may present themselves at a law firm to distribute the Will you hold, believing it is the last Will; many solicitors on face value will believe that too. It is not unusual for a Certainty Will Search to find multiple Wills for the same testator at different law firms. In most cases each law firm believes that they hold the last Will, fortunately the search provides clarity on which Will is the last Will.
It is not unusual for a testator to make a Will with another law firm and not tell the law firm they wrote their previous Will with.
Explain a Certainty Will Search to me again
The most commonly used Certainty Will Search is called a Will Search Combined. It is £95 +vat and is an allowable disbursement from the estate.
The search checks the National Will Register® that has 7.7million Will records in the system and also searches for Wills that have not been registered amongst law firms, both those who are not members of Certainty the National Will Register and those who are, and Will writers from the Institute of Professional Will Writers and the Society of Will Writers.
When to search, sometimes, always, never!
You should always Will search when distributing an estate, whether you think you knew the client and their executors well enough or not, or if a client says a Will does not exist.
Proving the last Will or obtaining evidence that a Will does not exist is a vital protection and requires only a small disbursement from the estate to achieve.
A Certainty Will Search provides peace of mind and is evidence that you did everything practicable should an unknown Will come to light after distribution.
This year has seen a record amount of Certainty Will Searches undertaken and a record number of finds. At least 1 in 10 searches discovers an unknown Will, either a later Will or a Will for a deceased person where the client claimed a Will did not exist. Certainty Will Search is preventing claims for wrongful distribution.
Highly Recommended and Highly Protective
The biggest recommendation to search comes from solicitors who search in their thousands every year, ask a fellow solicitor who uses Certainty Will Search why they do. Here is one answer: “It is important to consider whether you need to take any enhanced steps to check that the Will that you have been presented with is indeed the last Will. Undertaking a Certainty Will Search can shed some light on this. Sometimes, family members may suspect something to be the case but cannot confirm because the testator is no longer with us to verify questions surrounding their Will. Using Certainty can help to demonstrate that an action was taken to check the factual situation that is being presented to a solicitor, executor or wider family member. It can potentially reduce the possibility of a dispute taking place through a Will coming to light during or after estate distribution. Searches are called for in many legal activities to provide a safeguard or to try to discover unknown information. A Certainty Will Search is no different.” – Emma-Louise Green, Associate, Meridian Private Client LLP
Need to search, contact the Will Search Team at the National Will Register®.
Go online, call, or use live chat – quick, easy and confidential.
For further information on Will registration and the types of searches you can carry out please contact us on 0330 100 3660 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.