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Copy of a Will and Probate Records

  • In our experience we find that clients most commonly want a copy of a will due to one of the following reasons :-
  • They might want to know whether they were/are a beneficiary
  • The Executor or Solicitor dealing with the estate has refused to disclose a copy of the will
  • Contested probate is on the increase. We frequently have clients who contact us unhappy with the contents of a will and wish to challenge it. They therefore need to see the will in it’s entirety.
  • Inheritance tax reasons often mean that an old grant of probate maybe required to claim tax relief
  • Tracing of a family tree. Wills and grants of probate are very helpful in tracing lost family names and addresses
  • Curiosity ! lots of clients simply want to know the size of someone‘s estate or and their will

How Can I Obtain a Copy of a Will

A Copy of  a Will becomes a public document once probate is issued. Probate is the legal term given to the process that is followed after someone has died. For example, it will be required to sell a property, or collect money from a bank. The Probate ocument will be issued to the Executor(s) named in the Will. In most cases probate takes between 3-9 months to obtain so it is important that you are aware of this.

What will the Probate records show ?

If probate has been issued you will receive via e-mail a copy of the will and the grant of probate issued by the probate registry. These documents contain a number of important pieces of information in so far as they will show :-

  • who applied for the Grant of Probate eg. was it in person or through a Solicitor
  • the name of the Executor and his/her address
  • the net value of the estate

If no will exists, you receive a document called the a Grant of Letters of Administration which contains all the information above except a copy of a will.

If a Grant of Probate was not required, then a Copy of a Will is not registered or made available as a public record.

When is probate not issued ?

A Grant of Probate is not normally required if:-

  • The whole estate was held jointly i.e. with a surviving spouse.
  • The estate was small and financial institutions agree to release any monies to the administrators without the need of a Grant.
  • An executor or next of kin had power of attorney for the deceased’s
  • The estate is under £15,000