Will registration real milestones reached

Since its inception in 2006, Certainty the National Will Register has worked in partnership with legal professionals to provide peace of mind to testators, executors and beneficiaries throughout the UK. Nearly a decade on, through the continued support of the legal profession, Certainty has established a National Will Register and is working towards ensuring that unknown or untraceable Wills are a thing of the past.

Certainty is the fastest growing service in the UK for Wills and probate professionals and continually strives to make it functional, convenient and productive for both the legal profession and UK citizens.

Over the past decade, more than 1,600 law firms have led the way and joined with Certainty to build a National Will Register and National Will Search Service – this number increases monthly and is used be approximately 5,500 solicitors.

During this time some real milestones have been reached, a record December 2015 where Certainty member law firms registered 270,000 Wills, 2017 starts with a register total rising to 7 million Will records and one in every ten Certainty Will searches undertaken results in a Will being found where one was thought never to have been written, or the Will being used to distribute the estate had been superceded by the newer found Will!

Consequently Certainty the National Will Register not only provides law firms with a proven range of benefits on a daily basis but also fundamentally protects both the client and the law firm by minimising the risk of another Will being discovered after the estate has been distributed.

Registration and once removed relationships

Protecting your clients’ affairs by ensuring their Will is fit for them is what you do best. Ensuring that when they have passed on their executors or beneficiaries can find the Will is not always so straightforward or in your control.

Relationships between a testator and their executors, beneficiaries, family and friends, may be close but can break down. Equally, relationships between the testator and Will writer may be close, but must not be taken for granted. A close relationship between the Will writer and the testators’ executors and beneficiaries usually does not exist.

All this leads to the very real statistic that one in every ten Certainty Will searches undertaken results in a Will being found where intestacy was assumed or a later Will was found!

Registration and the commercial effect on you

From a purely commercial point of view, after writing the Will most in the profession look to the future probate work to generate some form of income for them, the only way this income will materialize is if the Will you have written is found after a death.

The National Will Register was set-up over a decade ago and has grown rapidly not only because of the way in which Will Registration protects the testator’s estate from being distributed incorrectly but the knock-on commercial effect it provides to the writer of the Will!

Quite simply each and every day Wills are found that have been registered, the writers of these Wills report the ABC of why you should register your Wills: a) the Will would not have been found without it being registered and a search taking place, b) the ‘searcher’ was unaware of the Will and/or its whereabouts and the Will writer was unaware of the testator’s death, c) the Will writer would have lost the probate work.

Over 7 million Will records, rising monthly, are now within the register, with thousands of Will searches taking place every month.

Searches are undertaken because executors and beneficiaries are unsure if a Will or later Will exists. Or they know a Will was written but are unsure where it is! Probate practitioners also undertake searches trying to establish that the Will they hold is indeed the last Will or if they suspect foul play.

However some unfortunately do prejudge the position and distribute the estate as intestate. This is unfortunate for both the testator whose wishes are not fulfilled and the Will writer whose probate income is removed.

Every day Legal 500 firms, leading high street firms through to Sole Practitioners

register their Wills with the National Will Register not only to protect their client’s beneficiaries but their future probate income. Similarly the smallest to the largest Probate and Estate Administration practitioners search for Wills prior to distributing an estate to prevent the estate being treated as intestate or an old Will being used.

Registration adds value and is very easy to do

The majority of your clients will welcome their Will being registered, you can provide this service as a free value add, or chose to charge for it. However most do provide it to their client for free to help secure the future probate income. The register does not need to see a copy of the Will and minimal details are required to register it – on average only taking around 1 minute to register.

Hopefully we have outlined that registering your Wills not only puts a safeguard in place to avoid the estate being distributed incorrectly but also a safeguard that helps ensure that you win the probate income not lose it!


Associate News is provided by Legal Futures Associates.
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