Every day The National Will Register locates Wills made many years before that have been lost or forgotten about due to the passage of time. Clients move home and do not always inform the professional who wrote their Will or update it, even when life circumstances change such as having children or a death in the family. In this case study, Richard Stone, Director at Talbots Law explains a case where a member of the public conducted a Certainty Will Search when their mother passed away to ensure that there was no unknown Will and how this resulted in the firm winning the probate work.
Richard comments: “A member of the public who was the child of the deceased conducted a Certainty Will Search to ensure that there were no unknown Wills of the deceased before they proceeded with the distribution of the estate.”
The daughter of the deceased conducted a Will Search Combined which searches for Wills that have been registered on The National Will Register and for Wills that are yet to be registered. A registered 1979 Will was located at Talbots Law.
Richard continues: “The registered Will that we held had been inherited from a law firm that Talbots Law had taken over many years before. The Will named the sole executor as the deceased’s husband who had passed away in 1995. There were two named substitute executors, should the husband pre-decease her, who were the mother of the deceased and a solicitor. The mother had also passed away in 1995 and after contacting the named solicitor, they confirmed that they were now retired and therefore renounced their executorship.”
“The Will also named her husband as the beneficiary of the estate and should he pre-decease her, then her children should inherit the estate. Therefore, the beneficiaries of the estate are the searcher and their estranged sibling who will be receiving equal shares. The Will also contained funeral wishes that the family were not aware of and by locating the Will through the Certainty Will Search, ensured these wishes were followed. Due to the retired solicitor renouncing their executorship, Talbots Law are now assisting the searcher in distributing the £250,000 estate.”
Richard concludes: “This case demonstrates why it is important for testators to regularly update their Will to ensure that it is in-line with what they want to happen to their estate once they pass away. Afterall, a lot can happen in 42 years, such as deaths, family fall outs and moving house. The deceased had moved around with her husband since writing the Will and failed to inform the solicitor at the time and subsequently never updated their Will again.”
“Talbots Law inherited this Will when we took over the firm who wrote the Will. We recognised the risk that these Wills may not be easily located due to the acquisition and their age. The firm decided to register our Will Bank to ensure that every Will we hold can be easily located and continue to register the Wills we write on The National Will Register and have incorporated it into our estate planning process.”