Finding a lost will
Finding a will when someone dies could be a quick search through personal possessions or it could involve an investigation company like Blackhawk Intelligence.
When a loved one of yours passes away, especially when the circumstance is unexpected, you need time to process difficult emotions. Amid grief, there is also a sense of urgency to locate the last will of the deceased in order to finalise the affairs and administer the estate.
It is a common misconception that there is a centralised will register in the UK where every will is registered and stored. This certainly is not the case. In England and Wales, the Probate Office (part of HM Courts & Tribunals Service) does provide a will safekeeping service at the Principal Probate Register in London but as the registration is not mandatory, they certainly do not keep every copy of every will written. In addition, there are other privately-run will registers across the country, some are defunct but some are still in business.
This means the process of locating the will of a loved one could be as easy as searching through the possessions of the deceased or it could involve some fine investigative work.
Places to look for a lost will
- The residence – the house owned by the deceased is usually the first place to start. If you aren’t the next of kin, you must obtain permission from the next of kin before carrying out a search.
- Safety deposit box – most banks do not offer safety deposit boxes now but there are independent safe-deposit firms across the country. For instance, the safe deposit department at Harrods dates back to 1896 and still functions today.
- Solicitors or will writing agencies – solicitors or will writing agencies working in the local area could have a copy of the will.
- Principal Probate Register in London – if the deceased did take up the will safekeeping service by the Probate Office, then use form PA9 to enter a general search or PA10 for a standing search.
- Other privately-run will registers – start with larger registers like Certainty the national will register (despite its name, this is a privately-run company) and work your way through.
- Contact an investigation company – as you can see from options above, carrying out a lost will search is a time-consuming task. At Blackhawk Intelligence, our investigators and tracing specialists can help you contact solicitors and will writing agencies across the country, along with searching through the Principal Probate Register in London and other privately-run registers.
Blackhawk Intelligence can help to find the lost will
It must be said that we also have a forensic department which can help to examine the computer, laptop and smartphone of the deceased to look for a copy of the will or evidence of their testamentary intentions.
If you need help finding the last will of your loved one, give us a call on +44 (0)20 8108 9317 or use our contact form to get in touch.