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